In a matter of just 10 months, David Moyes managed to do what everyone thought was impossible. He was able to bring an entire empire down. Although it wasn’t quite done in a single day, given the modern footballing landscape the demise was as quick as they come. By the end of his rein it wasn’t a bullet to the head, but rather a slow, reeking poison that showed how far Manchester United had fallen off the pace.
From Premier League champions to a side that didn’t even qualify for Europe next season, it was every ABUs dream come true. And it was all possible thanks to a man from Glasgow, who unlike his predecessor, had a penchant for laborious, boring football that was neither easy on the eye nor particularly defensively solid. A lot of hoopla surrounding Ryan Giggs’ appointment after the Everton game.
But, two wins from four games proved that even the goodwill of the fans and the caliber of the player in question, wasn’t enough to end Manchester United’s season on a high. The final few results show how far-reaching the consequences of Moyes’ reign was. And it would nothing but an experienced European campaigner and massive amounts of money to ensure that this season doesn’t happen again.
Everyone knew that this wasn’t the greatest United squad of all-time and agrees that Sir Alex Ferguson should have very well added a few midfielders towards the end of his tenure. But, nobody saw this collapse coming. Having said that, this season, however miserable, painful and horrible is now over. And it is now time for a new chapter in Manchester United’s history.
With many newspapers claiming that former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager Louis Van Gaal is set to take over the reins from Ryan Giggs as Manchester United’s manager after the World Cup, a new dawn has already emerged. The 62-year-old certainly has his task cut out for him as the season has proven that Sir Alex was the glue that held together this fragile and ailing squad.
If reports are true and Van Gaal does indeed take the job, United will have a manager with a proven European pedigree. Much like Ferguson, the Dutchman is a strict disciplinarian and a taskmaster extraordinaire. That is part one of the problem solved. Whilst a top-class manager will surely help, that will do nothing if the deficiencies in the squad aren’t addressed.
Even before signing more players, the first job of the manager will be to galvanize the squad and ensure that everyone is on the same wavelength. Much like the game against Southampton, Robin Van Persie has cut a forlorn and frustrated figure all season long and that has to change. Players like Kagawa and Welbeck must be allowed to play in their natural position or let go.
Unless the squad is at ease, there is no point in bringing more players. Once that is done, the next big task will be to sign top class replacements for the out-going players. Vidic is off to Inter, with Rio and Evra set to follow suit. Thus, an experienced center half and a left back are top priority. If Shaw, for whom they have already submitted a bid, does arrive, that will be one area fixed, but there are still plenty more gaps to fill.
Central midfield has been a problem all season long and at least one or two World class players are required, given the fact that the usually on-the-mark Carrick had a disappointing season and both Fellaini and Cleverley have flattered to deceive so far. So someone like a Strootman or Kroos would fit in seamlessly.
Another area of concern is on the wings. For the past two decades, the Red Devils have had some of the best wingers in the country. But apart from Januzaj, they currently don’t have a decent attacking winger amongst their ranks. And with United fully stocked in the attacking midfielders department, a proven goal scorer will help if they decide to let go of either Welbeck or Chicharito.
Even if all of this season is done, don’t expect a miracle next season. If United qualify for the Champions League it would be a very good season indeed. With a few World class additions, a stable, settled squad and a proven manager in their ranks, United might be able to get back to where they rightfully belong.