When former Everton manager David Moyes was appointed as the successor of retiring Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United fans around the world would have fully expected a period of transition within the club and that the Scotsman would need time to make his mark at Old Trafford.
Although very few would have envisaged a decline in the champions’ form being quite as drastic as it has turned out to be. As the mid-way point of the campaign approaches, Manchester United sit in ninth place; an astonishing 12 points off Arsenal at the top.
The criticism of Moyes is increasing week-by week having already lost five league games this season, equalling their entire defeat tally of last campaign.
However in the words of Sir Alex Ferguson, 'Your job is to stand by our new manager'.
Players will need to go and players will need to come in. If only it was that simple. Business is traditionally difficult to pull off in January and realistically, Moyes will not be able to make all the changes he desires until the summer. Although who should he target?
It was clear that Moyes aimed to add a left-back to his ranks at Old Trafford, after he attempted on several occasions to lure Leighton Baines from the blue half of Merseyside.
However with the English defender approaching 30 years of age, is he not surely coming to the end of his prime?
A much more adequate arrival in the left-back department would be 18-year-old Luke Shaw. The Southampton man has cemented his place in Mauricio Pochettino’s starting line up and has been touted to nail down England’s left-back position after the World Cup this summer.
Ross Barkley and Will Hughes are two extremely promising central midfielders who have started the season in sensational form for their clubs, Everton and Derby County respectively.
Barkley greatly impressed Moyes during his final year at Everton in such a fashion that the Manchester United manager made comparisons between the Evertonian starlet and Wayne Rooney, who made the move from Goodison Park to the Theatre of Dreams in 2004.
Barkley was given his England debut by Roy Hodgson against Moldova in September and is tipped by many to become one of the best talents the Premier League has to offer.
Hughes has also gone from strength to strength under Steve McClaren at Derby. The 18-year-old has been linked to a move to Liverpool on numerous occasions; however the creative English midfielder could potentially possess the attributes which Manchester United have seemingly been missing in recent months.
Aside from transfers, Moyes and his backroom staff must be given significant time in order to develop the young talent already at Old Trafford.
Phil Jones, described by Sir Alex Ferguson as the man who could become the club’s best player ever, along with Chris Smalling and Rafael, will need time to adjust to each others game and form partnerships similar to that of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, Gary Pallister and Steve Bruce; famous defensive brick walls that have been custom to title winning United sides throughout the years.
Exciting talents such as Adnan Januzaj who has displayed glimpses of his capabilities so far this season, Wilfried Zaha who was instrumental in Crystal Palace’s promotion last term, and Jesse Lingard who greatly impressed during pre-season and who is currently performing very well on loan at Birmingham; must be given time to learn from their mistakes and develop physically and mentally.
Robin van Persie has gone as far as saying that 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj is one of the best young players he has ever seen. “Over the years I’ve seen so many young players, and I can honestly say that of all the young players I’ve seen, he is right up there in the top one or two,” the Dutchman told the club’s website.
The famous saying is that you learn more from a defeat than you do from a victory. This is certainly the case for Moyes and his Manchester United side at this present moment in time however with a few adjustments, time for development and the backing of the fans; the future is most definitely bright at Old Trafford.
The season is by no means done and dusted, and the 20-time Premier League champions will look to call upon their expertise of prevailing when they have been written off by many in order to succeed and look ahead in optimism.
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