Manchester United must be challenging for the top honours on a regular basis if they harbour hopes of signing Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe or Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, according to Andy Cole.
The Old Trafford outfit currently sit second in the Premier League - one point above third-place Leicester - despite a second straight goalless draw in the top-flight following their stalemate against Crystal Palace.
However, their hopes of a first Premier League title since 2013 appear extremely distant as they sit 14 points behind current leaders Manchester City ahead of their derby showdown on Sunday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men are still in with a chance of winning the Europa League and FA Cup this season, but Cole believes winning the big trophies is the only way to convince global stars such as Mbappe or Haaland - both who have been linked with mega-money moves to the club - to join his former side.
Asked if United would be an attractive option for Mbappe or Haaland, Cole replied: 'Any club is attractive when you are those players, but ultimately it is what they are aiming for, as star players they are going to have options.
'Is United an attractive enough option to those guys? They'll have the answers. We all know about United's history and what they have done over many, many years but it's about the now.
'You want to know your possibility of winning things next season and the season after that. If it does come to fruition, those guys will have decisions to make.
'Top players want to win tomorrow, after a certain age you don't want to wait [for trophies]. United of course want top players, but to entice them you have got to be winning and be there or there abouts every season.'
Asked for the reason behind his move to Sir Alex Ferguson's United from Newcastle in 1995, former striker Cole added: 'To win.
'It was always a club I wanted to play for anyway but in the back of my mind I was going to Manchester United because I knew at some stage I would go on to win something. You don't worry about finances, you want to win silverware.'
The current United side face a demanding fixture list between now and the end of the season - starting with Sunday's Manchester derby - and amid fears they could be dragged into a race to qualify for the top four.
A home match against Champions League chasing West Ham is sandwiched between their mouthwatering Europa League last-16 tie against Serie A giants AC Milan.
United also face third-place Leicester, champions Liverpool and relegation-threatened Brighton and Fulham before the end of the season, and Cole has urged his former club to put in one final push to secure their spot as Premier League runners-up.
'You have got to be inspired by it all [fixture build-up], especially the two games against AC Milan. If you do want to finish second, you have got tough games.
'West Ham, they are trying to finish in the top four and are on an unbelievable run, Leicester want to finish in the top four, and then you have another game against Brighton who are trying to stay in the Premier League.
'It is all going to come thick and fast now, Man United need to pick themselves up and really go again. If I am an opposing manager, I am saying they are not scoring goals, and there is a chance to close the gap and go level on points with them.
'I think United know and Ole knows they have got to pick things up and give it a last final big push in the Premier League.'