When The Seagulls...

Following Manchester united, waiting for the sardines

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van Gaal in, Ryan Giggs out(ish) time for a squad shake-about

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The worst kept secret of the year has finally been confirmed - Netherlands national coach, Louis van Gaal has been named new Manchester United manager.

It seems the delay in the appointment has been on United’s side with the club somewhat insistent that Ryan Giggs retains the chair at the new gaffer’s right hand side. Patrick Kluivert was rumoured to be van Gaal’s first choice, but after a meeting in Amsterdam between the two, Giggs will be the number two at Old Trafford next season. 

In doing so, Giggs has decided to hang up his boots. Yup, after 963 games twisting the blood of his opponents in a Manchester United kit, the Peter Pan of football has called time on his playing career. It makes what should be a joyous day, come with a really sad undercurrent as even though he’s 40, we still thought we’d see Giggsy play on for one more season.

We’ll always remember him for this…

 

All the best, Giggsy. It’s been a blast.

Now that van Gaal is in place all eyes are on the transfer market.

Those rumours of LvG meeting United’s board weeks before Moyes was sacked are likely to be true. The secret meet-up was allegedly to discuss how he’d shake things up at the club should he be given a shot in the big chair. Apparently, his vision was enough to make Woodward quickly decide he was the right man going forward and he axed Moyes shortly afterwards.

With this in mind, van Gaal must’ve passed on a list of targets to the club already. He’s at the World Cup with Holland this summer, so the hapless Woodward will be in charge of this for a second season running. Hopefully, he’s learnt his lesson from last year’s abject failure in the market.

Van Gaal must also have OK’d the binning of Rio Ferdinand. Some fan quarters are still irked that he didn’t get the send off that Vidic was afforded, but if rumours are to be believed, Rio was the rabble rouser in the dressing room who ultimately cost Moyes his job through being a bad prick and leaking stories to the press.

Anyway, van Gaal must know who will replace Vidic and Rio, and with Dortmund’s Mats Hummel being tipped for a move to OT, this would be a superb start. Add in Luke Shaw and that long-mooted move for Toni Kroos and a new look United team starts to appear even more attractive.

With a track record of installing an infrastructure to accommodate both youth team promotion and big name stars into the first team, the future looks bright for van Gaal and Giggs.

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Manchester United 0-1 Sunderland - The summer cull can’t come quick enough

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If David Moyes had been in the dugout at Old Trafford overseeing this latest defeat to Sunderland, there’d have been a pitch invasion where a thousand pairs of feet lined up to use the Scotsman as a trampoline.

As it is, Moyes has been ousted and Ryan Giggs was in charge of one of the worst United performances of the season. Thankfully, the honeymoon period lasted a week since battering Norwich and there won’t be as much romanticising about Ryan becoming the new Pep Guardiola in the rags tomorrow.

It was a fitting tribute to Moyes, mind. No creativity, poor substitutions and an overuse of crossing were all hallmarks of a poor performance for the last man in charge and the same was apparent here. Giggs isn’t ready to be the manager of Manchester United. He should never have been held aloft so cheerfully by those who wanted to see him get the full-time job.

The constant through the 2013/14 season for Manchester United is that the players simply haven’t been good enough. Whether through lack of application or required skill, this current squad is a shambles. Never mind this summer, wholesale changes should’ve happened in 2013.

A clear-out is badly needed. Static defending from Vidic, Evra and Ferdinand on Larsson’s winner for Sunderland was appalling. A complete switch off while looking at each other as if to say ‘wasn’t he your man’? It’s the complacency that slips into a player’s mind like that, which highlights the fact they couldn’t give a shit about what happens.

It’s not just those defenders either, it ripples through the entire squad. Losing has become a common thing for them this season and they’re simply going through the motions because, like us fans, they’re waiting for the new season in the hope it re-energise them. But if they can’t turn it on now, then why should they be allowed another crack at it next season?

Phil Jones wanted a result today. You could see it in his charging runs down the flank and wild gesticulating to team-mates when no-one was within ten yards for him to pass to. Hernandez too looked like he was bang up for it, though with his desperation to do well and no doubt impress the Mexico selectors, he moved from his centre forward position way too often in search of the ball and left United toothless up top.

Young was busy, Mata tried to knit things together and Vidic put tackles in, but then he always does. The rest just sauntered through the game, probably thinking about where to go on holiday once the season is over next weekend.

A new manager needs to be announced ASAP because any potential target watching that type of performance today certainly won’t want to be part of this rudderless ship. Moyes got one thing right during his tenure: this squad is in need of major surgery. 

Filed under mufc

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Champions League farewell: Who will lead United back to the big time?

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"… and then Moyes said they’d still be able to sign world class stars!"

For one brief moment it looked like it was on. A thunderbastard of a strike from the unlikely source of Patrice Evra, almost lifted the posts out of the Manuel Neuer’s net. Glory be! 

But the fragility that’s been ever-present within this Manchester United side this season became the sides undoing. One minute later and it’s 1-1. The tight unit that Moyes sent the boys out in was broken like a jigsaw puzzle against the left and right flank hurricanes of Bayern’s Ribery and Robben. The rest is history.

Bar a miracle that leads to Manchester United snatching fourth place in the Premier League, the Reds are out of the Big Cup for at least one year. The post-mortem of a season that has been nothing short of a shambles for David Moyes’ side is in full effect and some huge decisions need to be made. 

First and foremost, is David Moyes the right man to lead Manchester United back into the big time? Doubtful. Staunch supporters of the ex-Everton boss point to the fact that he’s been left a poor squad and needs time to rebuild. Heck, he even said Fergie would struggle with this lot. But on a very basic level, it’s hard to argue this case based on current evidence.

Exhibit A: Moyes can’t handle big names

There’s no doubt Wayne wanted to play last night. He thrives on the big games and he’s arguably been our best player this season. But he cut the figure of a player who was worried about his foot injury. Scuffed chances here and there that he’d usually blast toward goal proved he should never have been out there.

Those travelling fans could see it. Those watching on TV too. So why did Moyes not haul him off and play Hernandez instead? Moyes even said Rooney was struggling, so why risk him? Simple, Moyes is afraid to stamp his authority on key players.

It happened with van Persie against Newcastle United. In hindsight, Moyes said that the crowd would’ve asked what he was doing if he’d brought RvP off. 

Player power seems to be ruling inside Old Trafford and Moyes appears to be unable to right it.

Exhibit B: Moyes doesn’t know what he’s doing

This isn’t just a broad brush statement. There hasn’t been any fluidity to United’s play nearly all season, but as soon as van Persie is out injured Moyes has to play Mata at his preferred #10 spot behind Rooney and Kagawa is drafted in, and look how they’ve flourished.

This isn’t a news to anyone with a set of eyes or who has watched Chelsea play over the last few seasons and seen the little Spaniard tear up defences with his skill, eye for a pass and general positioning.

Moyes sees these players every week and despite his preference to send out a team to simply not lose, the Kagawa-Rooney-Mata triumvirate has thrown caution to the wind and gone for it regardless. 

The ‘luck’ of having van Persie out injured hides the fact that Moyes has been stifling this flow just to keep the big boys happy (see Exhibit A for a refresh).

We fully expect the Manchester United PR department to salt rumour columns with tastier stories for sports journalists. Immediately after the game, Moyes said that ‘the players they’d had whispers in the ears of, weren’t put off by no Champions League next season’. Surely this is ‘tapping up’ players, mind. 

Until those players are picture in a United shirt they we won’t believe a thing. Though the question remains as to whether those leeches in charge of the club’s coffers will hand down the cash necessary for Moyes to rebuild. Or will it be another manager who will be installed in the summer to fix this mess?

This blog is becoming a tiring diary of David Moyes bad days, but it’s not without foundation. You can’t find the positives if they’re not there in the first place. And sadly, as time is showing us, the man in the hot seat at Manchester United simply can’t handle the heat of the high expectations.

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Would you trust this man with £200m?

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Forget Mata’s best position, he doesn’t know where to put that mouse

We purposely waited until after the Manchester derby to post anything else. Wins over Olympiakos and West Ham don’t really tell the full story - it’s the big games where David Moyes must show his pedigree. Another 3-0 home defeat to a heated rival later, and the manager has once again failed to deliver anything near a solid performance.

Tactically, Moyes got it wrong. Again. Tom Cleverley - a player who’s been sat on the bench in recent weeks - was deemed capable of coming into a starting XI to do a job. He didn’t. Then Shinji Kagawa replaced him at half-time and was pushed out to the right wing where he was ineffective. Again. The game was crying out for pace, yet Valencia - our only player quick enough to mount an assault - was left on the bench with his fat eye until near the end.

You can blame the players as much as you like, and they do deserve criticism for their shambolic performances against the big teams, but something is amiss when United face top opposition - confidence. 

Players are continuously going through the motions as if they’re expecting to lose. Any member of the squad who seemed to be coasting under Sir Alex Ferguson would’ve found themselves either at another club or at the very least baked under the heat of another dose of ‘hairdryer’ treatment from the ex-manager. After the half-time team-talk, United started worse than in the first 45 minutes. Why?

After so many games in charge, David Moyes has failed to rise to the challenge of being in the hot seat at Old Trafford. In fact, he’s visibly shrinking under the spotlight. Another press conference and it’s another wet apology, an overuse of the word ‘try’ and a soundbite that just highlights how out of his depth he is at United.

"We aspire to be as good as Manchester City" said a beleaguered Moyes post-match. Sorry, what? It’s one thing to privately feel this way and strive for better performances, but it’s a kick in the nuts to every Manchester United fan that has watched their team slide from champion status to also-rans in less than twelve months. To let these words slip out of his mouth while under the cosh gives you the measure of the man - he’s try-er not a winner.

Certain fans hold onto the hope that things will turn around, and we would like nothing more than this too. Yet when looking for reasons why he should continue it’s difficult to find any positives. Comparisons have been made about Fergie’s early days, but let’s be completely clear here, Fergie had already won titles, David Moyes has not. Even his record against the top four teams speaks volumes as he’s won only once against them this season - a 1-0 victory of a lacklustre Arsenal side.

Without a doubt the squad needs an overhaul. There’s talk of Moyes ‘bringing in his own players’, but he’s brought in £70m worth of talent in Fellaini and Mata and can’t get the best out of either. He also brought his own coaches in and look how that’s turned out. If the rumours are true, and certain players have had enough and want to leave, then he’s going to need £200m, minimum, to replace them.

Would you trust David Moyes to spend this amount of cash? On current form, we’d rather part of this war-chest was used for his severance pay, and a new manager - one who understands the importance of winning at all costs - is brought in.

With fans allegedly trying to tear down the embarrassing ‘Chosen One’ banner in the Stretford End last night and reports of abuse being thrown at Sir Alex Ferguson after the game, the fans have lost patience. We just don’t know how bad this situation will have to get before Manchester United admit that they’ve made a mistake with David Moyes appointment. 

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Impotent from top to bottom

Time’s ticking, mate

The most depressing thing about the 3-0 loss at home to Liverpool is the predictability of it all. Closely followed in second place with the knowledge that the attacking prowess the Scousers showed is exactly how Manchester United used to play… last season.

Losing at home isn’t something United fans are used to. And to go down without so much as having a swing at their opponent is unforgivable. Rafael might’ve been sent off for a few mindless actions, but he demonstrated more passion than any of his team-mates who just went through the motions on the way to another poor performance.

Rooney phoned in another performance, van Persie still doesn’t look right, Fellaini hassled, but was ultimately out played, Carrick was anonymous and Juan Mata cut a forlorn figure again, as he was asked to play from the right wing. There was no pace to counter-attack. No creativity to unlock a rigid defence. And no sense of urgency from the front two. It’s not good enough. 

How long will this go on?

Speculation is all we have to work with as fans, but there’s plenty of evidence on the pitch to suggest things aren’t right. Our money is on a player revolt against Moyes and the coaching staff.

Outbursts on social media are the norm amongst players this season. Rio, Zaha, Hernandez and Anderson have all voiced their sadness this term. van Persie has even been quoted in the media saying he’s upset at Rooney players getting in his way. Despite the recent interview suggesting otherwise, the Dutchman looks a shadow of his goalscoring self from last season.

If we didn’t know better, the likes of Rooney and RvP are playing this poorly to get Moyes and the rest turfed out of Old Trafford. If so, that’s an utter disgrace. But at the same time, the man who Sir Alex hand-picked for the role is a growing concern.

Let’s be blunt: Moyes is out of his depth. He seems like a good man, but he’s been in awe of the chance to manage Manchester United ever since his first press conference and this hasn’t changed. Folk compare this situation with when Fergie was almost sacked, but let’s remember Sir Alex broke up the Old Firm’s dominance of the Scottish league with Aberdeen as he won the title, plus he grabbed the European Cup Winner’s Cup with a win over Real Madrid. Moyes doesn’t have any silverware, and though we’ve been staunch supporters in him, recent weeks have proved that he’s not the right man for Manchester United.

We’re not saying anything here that you haven’t heard before. There are plenty of Moyes Out campaigns doing the rounds, but we’re not as tactless as to to give the man dog’s abuse and call for his head. However, some things weren’t meant to be and his United tenure is one of them.

Talk of transfer war chests, needing to ‘build his own team’ and hopeful wishes that it will change in the summer don’t hold up when you consider that his management has lead to a shocking demise of the club. There’s no roadmap to success. No clue as to what his tactics are or how adaptable he can be with substitutions. Instead, a group of players in red shirts are sent out on a pitch while the manager seemingly crosses his fingers and hopes for the best.

It’s undeniable that transfers are needed to strengthen, but what happens if the manager still can’t fire up his charges and have them playing fluid football? You’re back to square one. And that means turfing him when it’s too late and you have a load of players in place that a new manager might not want. It’s a conundrum, sure, but it has to be one that United’s board are considering right now.

The transitional period excuse falls flat when you consider that Chelsea and Bayern Munich have improved under Mourinho and Guardiola, respectively. Both winners, both self-assured about what they can bring to a club and fear no-one.

"Liverpool come here as favourites" said Moyes pre-game and it’s this sort of loser attitude that lands clubs in mid-table. If he’s saying this to the press, how on Earth is he supposed to get the players in the mood to beat their rivals?

We’re now in rant territory, so it’s time to step back a little.

David Moyes is by no means a poor manager, but he’s not cut out for this job at Manchester United. He hasn’t got the stones to deal with big name players, and unfortunately, he needs these type of divas if he’s going to succeed and win silverware. They’re not playing for him, for one reason or another, and that’s bad form from them, but you can’t turf out a full squad of dickheads just so the manager gets a bunch of yes men in.

The Champions League is Moyes last chance for silverware this season, but with quotes like ‘we need to make ourselves harder to beat’ rather than ‘we’ll get the result we need’ the air of inevitability is already swirling over Old Trafford. 

It’s dangerous to plod on through a summer transfer window of spending when there’s little evidence to suggest that a plan is place for future success.

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Nevermind Moyes, where’s the passion, lads?



A common look for United players this season

There’s a lot being said after the Olympiakos defeat on forums, social media sites and in the press today. A majority of cross-hairs are fixed on David Moyes, and rightly so. He’s cutting an increasingly forlorn figure after each game - win, lose or draw - and his pre-match ‘maybes’, ‘we’ll try’ and ‘give it a go’ are doing little to instil confidence that he’s the right man for the job.

But what of the players? The ones on the pitch that have a direct input into this woeful form? For us, they’re getting an easy ride. Sure, the only difference between this season and last is a new gaffer, bar Fellaini and Mata, but the players aren’t not putting in the performances worthy of the shirt. Yet, every byline and forum header focuses on weeding out David Moyes. 

The culmination of the two sides - players and manager - have made this season a mess. Moyes has lost the dressing room and the players are coasting as a result.

Here are some of the things that they can both be blamed for…

THE MANAGER

  • Tactical ineptness - He hasn’t got a Plan A, let alone a Plan B. Long balls and crosses one week, no wingers the next. There’s an argument made for trying to find the best fit/formation, but it’s not like this is his first job managing players, is it?
  • Transfers - ‘Dithering Dave’ they called him at Everton due to his slow movements in the transfer market. His laboured moves at United have left him with A. Chasm playing in midfield once again.
  • Smalling at right-back - As it reads.
  • PR - First it’s a ‘squad bereft of world class players’, then it’s ‘a world class squad’, now it’s just a ‘squad’. Confusing for fans, annoying for the players, no doubt.
  • A seeming distrust of his squad - Zaha loaned out, Fabio sold, Hernandez and Kagawa left to rot. There’s also the curious case of leaving Januzaj out when he’s been our most consistent performer this season.
  • Smalling at right-back - It’s worth saying twice.

THE PLAYERS

  • Lack of responsibility - Bar Rooney, not one other player has looked to consistently grab the game by the scruff of the neck this season for United. 
  • Passionless - Same as the above, but when they go a goal down these days, the players look as though there’s an inevitability about it and simply down tools.
  • Outbursts - Might just be us, but there certainly seems to be more ‘leaks’ to the press about how unhappy folk are than when Fergie was in charge. Rio, Zaha and Hernandez have all taken to social media to express their frustrations… and then denied it afterwards.
  • Cowardice - RvP, arguably our best player last season, has been anonymous for large parts of this term. When he’s not mouthing off about ‘players being in his position’ he’s claiming he’s unfit. He’s not looked right all season, and talk of him wanting to jump ship explains a lot. Add to this list: Tom Cleverley (you’re not a scapegoat, you’re just not very good), Ashley ‘The Crab’ Young who always goes sideways, Antonio Valencia who stifles United’s attacks better than any opposition full-back could dream of and those we listed earlier who were crying about not playing on social networks.

There are a ton more that each is responsible for, but one thing is for sure, this won’t last. Something has to give and all signs currently point to David Moyes leaving the club as the players’ mutiny continues.

So while you sharpen your knives to slash up the gaffer, just remember that those players on the pitch still know how to play football, regardless of tactics, and for one reason or another, are simply not doing it.

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Going for broke

You want me to play where, Mr Moyes?

Observations on Manchester United from last night’s match against Arsenal at the Emirates…

  • Moyes’ talk of sticking with the same game-plan - e.g. slamming the ball into the box over and over again - was a lie. This would have been a very good mind-game to play with Wenger if it hadn’t been followed up with an even more tepid display than that in the 2-2 draw with Fulham at Old Trafford. 
  • Arsenal have been on a stormer this season, but the legs have started to feel the pace. They were there for the taking, but Dave deployed the ‘happy with a point’ tactics that saw the ball passed between midfield and defence towards the end of the game.
  • Juan Mata is not a left winger. He had license to roam, but with Patrice Evra prone to nodding off mid-game, there needs to be someone who can get up and down the pitch to help out. Mata needs to play behind the striker(s) to get the best out of him.
  • Why Januzaj is suddenly being used off the bench when Moyes deemed him good enough to start all those games early on in the season is anyone’s guess. He *can* actually play on the wing, unlike Mata.
  • And unlike Valencia and Young who’s only contribution in an attacking sense is to run fast in a straight line, stop, and cut a pass backwards. United will need two more creative wingers.
  • van Persie and Rooney’s battle to prove who really is the big dog up top at United is costing the team goals. The only time they passed to each other, it almost made a goal, but for a great save. 
  • Tom Cleverley had his best game all season. No doubt spurred on by the dog’s abuse that his own fans levelled at him through Twitter. He’s still not good enough for Manchester United, mind.
  • It doesn’t matter how many ‘Juan Matas’ we buy in the summer, if Moyes persists in playing this turgid brand of football he’ll sap the life out of any creative talent.
  • Chris Smalling is still not a right back and looks so uneasy as he gallops forward that it’s no wonder he rarely receives a pass up the pitch.
  • My tears for Shinji and Hernandez know no bounds.

Mostly bad stuff then, eh? Still, a point at Arsenal under Fergie would’ve been hailed as a tactical master-stroke, but with the Gunners looking leggy, United could’ve shown more gusto in getting forward and going for the win. A clean sheet isn’t too bad either.

With a top four finish improbable, and the fans already on his back, it’s time for Moyes to get creative. If he’s capable of such a thing. 

This means a change of formation, tactics and personnel. Nothing drastic like bringing in untested reserve team players, but putting trust in the talents at his disposal and finding the best setup that suits them instead of the other way round. Kagawa, Hernandez, Nani and Fellaini - fitness permitting - should be given a chance to shine rather than left to rot. 

Playing Mata out wide is like when you play FIFA or PES and you crowbar an unnecessary luxury signing onto the pitch. He’s wasted out there, just like Shinji is. Januzaj was effective in the wide role until Juan usurped him with super stardom, but they can easily play together under the right guidance. You just can’t imagine Guardiola being unable to solve this conundrum

The fans are growing restless with Moyes’ approach and those ‘Moyes Out’ shouts will become louder and louder. Summer is still a long time away, and if Dave can’t get this group of players ticking - the same team that won the league last season - then it going to be very difficult to convince new talent to park up at the creativity vacuum that is currently Old Trafford.

 

Filed under match report moyes

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Manchester United: Consistently poor with these tactics


"Hands up if you’re a big fan of long, looping balls…"

Let’s not dress this up - even with the victory over Cardiff City this week, United still looked poor. A lack of cohesion that you can level at the inclusions of so many players that have been injured (Rooney, RvP) or just bought (Mata). Today’s loss to Stoke City yielded the same sort of lacklustre approach and, to be honest, Sparky’s men deserved the win. 

Moyes admits that he’s begun the restructuring of Manchester United - an overhaul that will see many a player leave as well as those ‘five Juan Matas’ coming in. This is all very well, but with each game that passes, Dave’s tactical flaws begin to show and this it doesn’t matter if you buy the world’s best players if you’re just going to have them hump it into the box/up the pitch every game.

You can see in the body language of certain players, that they’re completely uncomfortable with this approach. For example, Chris Smalling has shrunk from ready-made Rio replacement at centre-back to a mortar cannon firing repeated long-balls to nothing. Valencia and Young have harried as much as possible down the flanks, but their crossing has been awful.

There’s a long-term plan in place at United and this is just the start, but the current form suggests that it’s not just the players that need to adapt to the new regime, Moyes and his crew need to buck their ideas up and get the team playing fluidly again.

This long ball nonsense should be saved until Fellaini is fit and we’re chasing a win in the 95th minute.

As an aside, Moyes says he’s taken enough time to assess the squad now. An assessment that meant Wilfried Zaha, a player farmed out to Cardiff City on loan, isn’t good enough to challenge for a place on the wing instead of sideways crawling Ashley Young. Worth pointing out Wilf assisted two goals for the relegation threatened side today.

It’s going to be a long ol’ season, but Dave needs to sort his tactics out now.

Filed under match

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Mata signs for United, Glazers must now deliver more

imageLook at his little face!

Welcome to Manchester, Juan Mata. United fans worldwide are still pinching themselves over this deal that’s seen their team pluck the Spanish playmaker from Chelsea despite him winning their Player of the Season for two years running. José’s certainly made a statement by allowing Mata to leave, but their loss (and it is a loss) is Manchester United’s gain.

With form suffering and players reportedly becoming disillusioned inside the Old Trafford dressing room, this signing comes at a perfect time to boost everyone and hopefully push for the Champions League spots. But while it is a time for celebration - especially for that greedy pig, Rooney who’s looking to suddenly sign his future to the club for 300K per week - this is also a time to keep a watchful eye on the owners.

This piece by David Conn on The Guardian is a real eye-opener on the state of things at United under the ownership of the Glazer family. It tells a tale of how the US owners have taken the club backwards since their takeover despite the trophies Sir Alex racked up in the mean time. It depicts a truth that suggests either United have been hamstrung financially in the transfer market since 2005 and/or Ferguson managed to run the club into the ground before he left due to a reluctance to purchase world class players.

The truth lies somewhere in the middle, but undeniably, Manchester United have only spent big bucks on a handful of stars - Robin van Persie being the most recent. Ferguson is the master of turning out silk from a sow’s ear as evidence of United lacklustre displays under Moyes have shown. Now that the magician is gone, the Glazers are at a crossroads which will shape their future with the fans.

Let’s not beat around the bush, we’d rather see them long gone than shake Uncle Malc’s sweaty hand for buying Juan Mata. But they can win back some confidence by going out and spending real money to back the beleaguered Moyes and reshaping this patchwork of a squad. Mata should be the start of a spree, not the end of it too.

We sold Cristiano Ronaldo for £81m and replaced him with Gabriel Obertan (£3m) and Antonio Valencia (£16m). Let that sink in for a minute - a winger who now struggles to hold down a starting place at Newcastle United and a player so short of confidence he’s become scared of the number seven and rarely beats a man. This simply isn’t good enough when Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City are paying mega-money for recruits. Even Liverpool have a higher net spend than United since the Glazers rolled into town.

So now the three stooges in charge of Manchester United must put up or shut. A lack of signings through blatant penny-pinching whilst trumpeting that there are ‘funds to spend’ won’t wash now. And if the signing of Mata is to be the only Juan, then expect those ‘Glazers Out’ protest to become even louder. 

Filed under Debt Transfers

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Operation: 4th Place



Not the prettiest of pictures for a Manchester United fan

Regardless of what Moyes says, Manchester United’s challenge for the 2013/14 title is over. It has been for a few weeks. If he were still at Everton he’d have admitted this ages ago, but Dave’s words after the 3-1 defeat to a lacklustre Chelsea side lack conviction - like a man who knows damn well he’s been beaten.

So what now?

Well, that fourth spot in the table looks damn attractive right now and, barring a miracle that see United win it this term, their only shot at the Big Cup next season. 

Last week we talked about whether transfer targets are being scouted for now or in the summer. The noise from Old Trafford is that there are plenty of top notch stars queuing up to join the team and there’s plenty of money to pay for them. But at the same time we’re told that it’s difficult to get these players because it’s halfway through a campaign and clubs aren’t willing to sell. If Manchester United want to send a statement of intent, then they should buy big, and buy now.

Yes, teams get wrung out for every single penny they have during the January transfer window because it’s a seller’s market, but United - with their squad fragility on show to all - will be screwed in the summer anyway. If they’re to get that 4th spot and the money is there then get Woodward on a private jet door-stopping every chairman of a club with ridiculous offers for prized assets.

£50-60m for Vidal? That’s the going rate for a midfielder of his quality. And at 26, the Juventus dynamo has plenty of time to strut his stuff at Old Trafford. You’d likely get Yohan Cabaye from for half that price from Newcastle United and he’d certainly make a difference to this current squad. Sure, these players might want to stick around at their club, so offer them sizeable wage increases and see if they still feel the same. 

Injuries have certainly played a part in United’s current form - and even with RvP and Rooney, the Chelsea game was always going to be tough. But this squad is lacking in depth and a few star players now could see both short and long term benefits for Manchester United.

Filed under Transfer