David Moyes is tasked with overhauling the Manchester United team and continuing the successes brought to the club by Alex Ferguson. As well as that, the new manager has to change a notably underwhelming transfer policy adopted midway through the last decade.
United simply don’t have enough game-changers or match-winners. When compared against other European giants, the makeup of individual squads makes for unpleasant reading from United’s perspective. Bayern Munich have a host of players nominated for the World Player of the Year, each of whom are rightly considered among the best in the world. Real Madrid are led by Cristiano Ronaldo but this summer alone have added Gareth Bale and Isco to supplement one of the best attacks in Europe. Barcelona, too, adding Neymar to a squad heaving with attacking class and quality. United only have Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. It’s simply not enough.
Under Ferguson, United adopted a policy whereby they would pick up comparatively modestly priced players with talent for moulding. Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Javier Hernandez, Phil Jones, and many others were brought in over the past few years with an eye to shaping them into high-end players. Ferguson said there was no value in the market anymore, a problem, if that’s what it actually is, which lies with the nouveau riche clubs scattered around Europe.
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But Moyes needs to change the policy of buying perceived diamonds in the rough and go for the big names again. United may not need Robert Lewandowski at this time, but why were they not seriously in the hunt for him? Real Madrid, for example, didn’t need Bale. Van Persie is 30, Rooney is prone to lengthy scoring droughts, and beyond them there isn’t anyone that can be deemed genuinely world class. Based on what was needed this summer, United should have been heavily in the mix for Thiago Alcantara.
The current squad at Old Trafford, or at least the attacking side, is in need of fresh faces and ones who are deemed among the best in the world. Players like Anderson and Nani have either failed or failed spectacularly to reach the heights projected for them and their time at the club should be coming to an end, despite Nani recently signing a new five-year contract.
United used to buy high-class players like Ruud van Nistelrooy and Rio Ferdinand; it wasn’t just that they were expensive, it’s that they were among the best in Europe. Van Persie, of course, is the exception. The club have the money, unless the new sponsorship deals, which have been paraded as great accomplishments, are for nothing. United have the infrastructure and financial power. It’s time to fill the squad with genuine world-class talents again.
The team are heavily reliant on wingers, or at least they have been for the majority of Ferguson’s reign. The crop of players taking up those positions at the moment are not of sufficient quality. Why, then, is the club not chasing Angel Di Maria, who is reportedly in talks with Monaco? One way or another, it appears as though the Argentine will leave Real Madrid, even if it’s not in the January window. Why was Eden Hazard not a priority prior to his move to Chelsea?
It’s shocking that Marouane Fellaini is the first central midfield signing since Owen Hargreaves in 2007. It’s been a problem area for the club for a number of years, and yet when players like Arturo Vidal went on the market, United were nowhere to be seen.
United may be able to turn around their fortunes in the Premier League, but they’re currently seeing the top European teams race off into the distance. Changing the transfer policy and the attitude at the club will see the gap close. Moyes must start targeting players who are befitting of United and the club’s stature in world football.