Moyes, who was hand picked by Ferguson himself to be the new manager at Manchester United, has a big decision to make on his arrival at Old Trafford.
His biggest and most publicised decision will be what to do with Wayne Rooney, with Unibet offering short odds for him to leave in the summer. The striker wants out. Rooney has handed in another transfer request and many fans have lost patience with him. The man who first wanted to leave because the club lacked ambition, is now being forced out by the ambition the club has shown. His head is gone and he’s no longer committed to United. Ferguson believes he needs a summer away and time to clear his head.
Moyes and Rooney have history. Moyes gave Rooney his Premier League debut and was heavily involved in Rooney’s early career. But after Rooney left Everton, their relationship turned sour. Rooney claimed in his book that Moyes leaked a private conversation to the Liverpool Echo about why he wanted to leave Everton. Moyes sued Rooney for libel damages and Rooney agreed that the accusations were false. They have since patched up their differences.
When Moyes arrives, Rooney’s situation needs to be dealt with quickly. He needs to stamp his mark on this squad. If he feels he needs Rooney in that squad, then Moyes will need to talk Rooney round and assure him he is a vital part of that team. If not, then it’s time for Rooney and United to move on.
The squad that Moyes will inherit is in great shape. That is the belief of the departing manager anyway. Ferguson believes that he is leaving the club at the right time with the squad being in the best possible shape.
Not everyone agrees with Fergie though. Many people believed that this current squad was not one of Ferguson’s best. It lacked the real quality of the Champions League winning sides of 1999 and 2008. But if it was one of Ferguson’s poorer sides, then comfortably winning the Premiership back from their noisy neighbours will satisfy all United fans.
Even with the critics, Ferguson believes that the balance of the squad that he will leave behind bodes well for continued success. The balance of experienced players like Van Persie, Carrick, Giggs, Ferdinand and the mix of youngsters like Jones, De Gea, Rafael, Welbeck, will yet again see Manchester United challenge for the title next season.
United’s youth team is incredibly strong also. Ferguson believed in developing youth and their current youth squad will see future first team players in the not to distant future. Moyes also believes in developing youth and giving youngsters a chance.
Moyes will look to stamp his own mark on the squad. Even though the current squad won the title, it needs improving. Getting knocked out of the Champions League to Real Madrid in the last 16 is not good enough for a club like United and they will look to mount a challenge next season.
It looks certain that Moyes will look to raid his old club Everton. Leighton Baines looks a target, as does Marouane Fellaini and Phil Jagielka. If Rooney leaves, then a replacement will be needed. With Rio Ferdinand yet to sign another contract, tying the centre half up for another year will be a great signing for Moyes. With Paul Scholes retirement and a lack of quality in depth in midfield, a centre midfielder is a must for United this summer.
With Moyes having to deal with the Rooney issue, he also has to deal with the pressure of succeeding the most successful British manager of all time. There will be a lot of pressure on Moyes when he arrives at Old Trafford.
The shadow of Sir Alex will certainly loom over Moyes, but it shouldn’t let it worry him. Ferguson will still be around the club and helping Moyes behind the scenes. Moyes will need help behind the scenes due to the enormity of the brand that is Manchester United.
On the pitch, Moyes will be encouraged to play his own brand of football. Fans will demand that it is an attractive style of football and Moyes will look to deliver that.
The role that Ferguson will play in Moyes’ early days at Old Trafford will be like an apprenticeship. Ferguson will groom Moyes into the role as Manchester United manager and after a period of time, when Ferguson feels like Moyes knows all he needs to know about being Manchester United’s manager, he will slowly ease away.
As helpful as it is that the great man will be around to help, it is a performance based industry. If results are not going Moyes’ way, then it will be interesting to see how the United fans react. Moyes has signed a six year contract. Success may not be in his first season. It may take time for Moyes to get to grips with managing one of the biggest clubs in the world. If it does, then the fans need to be supportive. Sir Alex Ferguson did not achieve success straight away. In 1989, fans were calling for Fergie’s head. They wanted rid of Ferguson as they believed he couldn’t deliver success. Now those same fans are hailing the greatest manager of all time as he enters retirement.
It’s going to be a huge challenge for Moyes, but one that he will cherish. Moyes shares the same qualities as Fergie, hence why the Scotsman hand picked Moyes to replace him at Old Trafford. They are both incredibly loyal, share the same immense work ethic, get the best out of their players, clever in the transfer market, media savvy and have an incredible will to win. With Moyes and Ferguson being so alike, this should enable a smooth transition over the summer.
There will never be a manager like Sir Alex Ferguson again. Moyes will try everything he can to emulate Sir Alex. United don’t want a repeat of life after Sir Matt Busby where they faded into the wilderness. They are one of the biggest clubs in the world and success is demanded.