Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince has this morning claimed that the Red Devils never truly replaced inspirational leader Roy Keane on and off the field, telling talkSPORT that David Moyes is now facing a huge summer of upheaval to put things right for next season.
United are languishing in seventh in the Premier League ahead of tonight's clash with title contenders Arsenal at the Emirates, a whopping 16 points behind table toppers Chelsea after conceding a stoppage-time equaliser in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Fulham.
Inquests surrounding United's meek defence of their Premier League crown are in full swing but Ince believes there problems trace all the way back to 2005, when Keane walked out of Old Trafford by mutual consent without a direct replacement.
He told talkSPORT's breakfast show: “When you look at the team, they have never replaced Roy Keane.
"Ryan Giggs is coming to the end, Paul Scholes has retired. There are lots of players who have been there a long time. They are senior players who are Man United through and through.
“There are no leaders. It’s a major problem. Chelsea have people like John Terry and Gary Cahill, proper leaders, Man United don’t."
Moyes is already resigned to losing current club captain Nemanja Vidic this summer, after the Serbian international confirmed his intention to look for a new club last week.
Experienced defenders Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra are also out of contract at the close of the campaign, which leaves Moyes facing difficult decisions on how best to move the team forward in the long-term.