Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan has criticised the champions for failing to make a marquee signing this summer.

The Old Trafford giants were in a for a host of big-name players including Gareth Bale and Cesc Fabregas - while there was also a suggestion they wanted to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back from Real Madrid.

But Marouane Fellaini signed for £27million from Everton was the only arrival for the first-team squad and United were criticised for their perceived failure to deliver in the first transfer window after Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.

Phelan speaking to a Scandinavia-based United supporters’ club magazine suggested that at least one major signing would have arrived in the summer had Ferguson and former chief executive David Gill who also stepped down after last season stayed on.

“If Sir Alex and David Gill had still been the bosses... I won’t name the player but there would have been a star signing - one of the absolute best players in the world” said Phelan.

“It was something the boss talked about and the owners and David Gill were also quite clear on doing it."

Phelan chose not to identify the star he was talking about but added: "There’s very few of such players out there. I think it’s clear to everybody who I’m talking about.

“We didn’t see the need for a big clear-out of the squad that’s why Sir Alex and I had one big signing in sight.

"One such star signing gives everybody a lift we saw that with Robin van Persie.”

Meanwhile Mark Bosnich is challenging Ferguson to repeat his criticisms of him to his face.

The former United keeper is described as a “terrible professional” in Fergie’s new autobiography.

The Scot is set to visit Australia later this year to watch the Melbourne Cup and Bosnich who lives in Sydney wants a showdown.