Manchester United need Gareth Bale, says Rio Ferdinand

EXCLUSIVE: Former star says the team needs pace

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The Independent Football

Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand says that the club should try and "test the water" with a bid for Gareth Bale and that the Louis van Gaal era has left him watching games in "hope rather than expectation".

The 37-year-old, speaking at a charity event in east London, says that United's struggles this season are a combination of things that have gone wrong under Louis van Gaal's management. 

"When I go and watch Manchester United now it's with more hope than expecting them to go and win or produce a performance," he tells The Independent. 

"[That] really is the biggest difference to when I was there and in years gone by. I don't expect Man United to get a result anymore, that's the problem."

Ferdinand was asked if that was done more to the methods and man-management style of Louis van Gaal or the slow, possession football he has the side playing.

"I think it's one of those things we'll learn when he's gone," he added.

"Whenever Van Gaal eventually goes I think that's when there will be... which is normal, which happens, players don't tend to speak out when a manager is still there.

"It's going to be down to the management style, his philosophy, the players not being able to implement his ideas and the players not being good enough. It's is an accumulative thing where I don't think you can necessarily pin it on one problem."

Ferdinand was also asked if he was manager today, who he'd target in the January transfer window.

Ferdinand was speaking at a charity event in east London

"You've got to be realistic. But the team needs more pace.

"You're looking at people like [Gareth] Bale. [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi and people like that are not realistic.

"But someone like Bale, you'd like to test the water and see if you can get him back because the Premier League needs someone like that.

"All the best players in the world aren't playing in the Premier League."

Rio Ferdinand is supporting the partnership between BT Sport’s The Supporters Club and the National Basketball Association (NBA) which alongside the Greenhouse program supports young people from London’s deprived areas. Watch NBA Global Games London 2016 on January 14 from 7.45pm, exclusively live on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Showcase.