Manchester United legend Andy Cole says that his ex-club are struggling to sign players due to their lack of European football this season.

United suffered major disappointment last season under David Moyes as they came seventh in the Premier League, finishing outside of the European spots.

Under Louis van Gaal United have signed Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo, but they have struggled to attract Europe’s biggest names this summer, and Cole believes it is down to missing out on Europe.

“I know a lot of people have been complaining about the club not bringing enough players in, but it gets tougher when you don’t have European football because if you want to try and bring in the best, you have to entice them with European football.

“Like it or not, every top player wants to play in Europe, and this year we aren’t playing in it.”

Paul Scholes has recently expressed his fears over United’s lack of transfer activity, and has warned of a downward spiral if they don’t sign five top players.

Cole also believes reinforcements are urgently required: “We need to improve competition for places. If you are going to get stronger you need to buy players.”

United suffered a shock 2-1 loss at home against Swansea on the opening day of the season and play away at Sunderland this Sunday.