Paul Scholes says he is "genuinely scared" for his former club Manchester United and fears they could disappear into the "wilderness".
The 2012-13 champions finished seventh last year, and started the new campaign under Louis van Gaal with a 2-1 home defeat against Swansea City.
"I'm sick of having to criticise the club to which I gave my life as a player," Scholes told the Independent.
"But United need to arrest their decline."
United completed the £16m signing of Argentina international defender Marcos Rojo on a five-year contract on Wednesday.
But Scholes, 39, who briefly joined United's backroom staff after David Moyes's sacking in April, claims Van Gaal still needs to sign up to five players before the transfer deadline on 1 September.
"What do they need? Five proper players who can hit the ground running and turn round a situation that looks desperate," he added.