Man United: Moyes Should Go & Take These Players With Him
A year is a long time in sport. Or so they say. And on Wednesday, Manchester United were eliminated from a competition that they are unlikely to compete in again for at least that period of time. The Champions League is something that United fans had become accustomed to having been involved in it for eighteen straight seasons under Sir Alex Ferguson, but it seems that the times they are a-becoming quite different.
After Wednesday night, there has been much written and said in favour of giving Moyes the old heave-ho. Most of it hasn’t just been laden with hyperbole either and has added to the many legitimate arguments against Moyes remaining in the job, but it is doubtful that his sacking is something that will become a reality any time soon. David Moyes will not be sacked as manager of Manchester United this year. This much is pretty clear. The club’s board are scared to do so for fear of looking silly for hiring him. They need to be seen to have given him a fair crack at the whip so that no excuses can be laid at their door for hiring him. To paraphrase Malcolm Tucker; sack him after a year and it looks like they’ve fucked up, sack him after two years and it looks like he’s fucked up.
So, what can Moyes do to make sure that competing in the Champions League remains an anomaly and doesn’t become the norm? Most importantly, wholesale changes to the playing staff are a necessity. He has publicly spoken about identifying targets and how they have loosely agreed to signing for the club regardless of their ‘gap year’. This is a promising start, of course, but it’s difficult to get excited about the prospect of new blood being added to the squad before they are paraded around in the famous red shirt.
With Nemanja Vidic already leaving the club and the likely retirements of Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand, Moyes will be have to replace these players with young players who are hungry to achieve what their predecessors have. Even if he stays, Patrice Evra will likely have to be replaced this summer with a new, younger left-back who is capable of playing upwards of 40 games a season.
The drop in form of Michael Carrick must also be taken into account. A subject of acclaim from some United fans, Carrick has proven himself this season to be little more than a squad player. After an impressive first half of 2013, the Englishman’s form has dropped to a derisory level since. He turns 33 in July, and it is difficult to argue for his continued presence at the club if they can sign a world-class midfielder or two in the summer.
Also, United have become a side with more quantity than quality and the bloated nature of the squad, particularly in the attacking positions, needs to be addressed. There are too many players stealing a living at the club. Alexander Buttner, Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young and Anderson are players who are simply not fit to wear the shirt (quite literally in the latter’s case). The Brazilian’s loan to Fiorentina is a promising start to this procedure but the other three must go too before their mediocrity infests the club further. There are also arguments to be made about what exactly Anders Lindegaard, Antonio Valencia, Nani and Javier Hernandez do to earn their substantial wages too.
If he is to re-introduce Manchester United to the continent’s premier club competition at the earliest opportunity then ridding of these players in favour of fewer, but top quality signings is something that David Moyes must give serious thought.