It says a lot about David Moyes' first season in charge at Old Trafford that in the second week of March, the attention is already turning towards the next campaign. Sitting seventh in the Premier League, out of the domestic cups and having lost 2-0 in the first leg of their last 16 tie with Olympiacos things look rather bleak at Old Trafford.
It seems as though Moyes has lost the respect of the dressing room and he needs to spend well in the summer if he has any chance of becoming a success at Manchester United. This current Manchester United side look like they are going through the motions and lack the passion and desire shown in previous years.
Looking at their match against Olympiacos in Greece, United looked a real shadow of the side that won the Premier League last season. Moyes is at fault for quite a lot of what's going on at United at present, but when you see the likes of Tom Cleverley misplacing simple ten yard passes and Chris Smalling's attempted crosses flying aimlessly over the goal, you begin to wonder what has happened this side.
No confidence, no composure and it doesn't look like getting any better. Robin van Persie seems to look unhappy and might look for a move away from Old Trafford in the summer, with Nemanja Vidic leaving for Inter Milan, this could start a clearout for Manchester United in the summer.
A side ageing and lacking ideas, even Juan Mata looks like an average player in this setup as the Spaniard has done very little since arriving for £37 million in January. Whether Moyes will be in charge come June remains to be seen, but I take a look at what players I think have the talent, potential and the mentality to become a success at Manchester United. While most of these players might not be considered superstars of such as now, I feel Manchester United need young, hungry, determined players to revamp this decaying squad.
Right back: Seamus Coleman, Everton. One for the future : Calum Chambers, Southampton
I simply don't think Rafael is anywhere near the quality of a Manchester United right back. Seamus Coleman has been in brilliant form for the last few years for Everton and I think he would be a solid and suitable choice for right back. Calum Chambers would be another option. At 19, he has shown great ability and maturity for Southampton this season and has great potential to become a top class right back.
Centre back: Dejan Lovren, Southampton + Fabian Schar, FC Basel. One for the future : Eder Balanta, River Plate
A big disappointment at Manchester United has been the lack of development from the younger players in the squad. Smalling and Jones haven't developed to anywhere near the expected levels which leaves Manchester United with no option but to improve their defence.
With Vidic departing it leaves a big gap in the heart of the defence. A player I think has the qualities to play centre back for Manchester United is Dejan Lovren of Southampton. A very commanding defender with great composure I think this would be a solid signing, as the Croat has excelled in his first season in the Premier League.
Fabian Schar is a player I rate very highly and would be an ideal choice to replace Vidic. Schar has been very impressive for Basel in Europe and would suit the Premier League very well as he plays with a aggression, but is also very good technically.
Other choices could be Eliaquim Mangala from Porto but the French international would come at a very high price. Eder Balanta from River Plate, meanwhile, has all the attributes needed to become a world class defender. While he is probably unknown to most, the Colombian is an incredible athlete and is a good defender who I feel would be a great signing for Manchester United.
Left Back: Alex Sandro, FC Porto. One for the future : Ricardo Rodriguez, VfL Wolfsburg
My choice here is Alex Sandro from Porto. While most people would want to see Luke Shaw come in, I think Southampton youngster would come at a very high price and feel there is more value for money in Sandro. At 23, Sandro is a technically superb player with great pace and skill. The Brazillian is the modern day fullback and I think this would be a very good signing to replace Patrice Evra.
Centre Midfield : William Carvalho, Sporting Lisbon + Alex Teixiera, Shakhtar Donetsk. One for the future : Mateo Kovacic, Inter Milan
This is an area United have really struggled with this year. They lack energy, creativity and real quality from this position. The player I think would be a brilliant signing for Manchester United is William Carvalho from Sporting Lisbon.
Carvalho would give United a box to box midfielder who can break up play and would compliment Juan Mata in the number 10 role greatly. Moyes has been in Portugal to watch Carvalho and this deal could happen.
He is very highly rated and would give United a real engine in the middle of the pitch. A great competitor and very athletic, I think Carvalho would be an exceptional signing for Manchester United and exactly what they need.
While ideally Manchester United would want to sign the likes of Arturo Vidal from Juventus I don't think that is possible, so my other choice is Alex Teixiera from Shakhtar. While some of you might be surprised by this I think Teixiera is a very good box to box midfielder who would give Manchester United the stamina and energy they need.
Teixiera is a very skilfull player who would definitely excite the United crowd and would work very well alongside a more defensive player like Carvalho. Mateo Kovacic, meanwhile, is a very good footballer and is very comfortable on the ball. He is one of the best upcoming midfielders in Europe and is an exceptional passer of the ball, something that United could do with it.
Wingers: Antoine Griezmann, Real Sociedad + Memphis Depay, PSV Eindhoven. One for the future : Zakaria Bakkali, PSV Eindhoven
While Adnan Januzaj has been the brightest spark for Manchester United this season, I think there is too much pressure on the teenager to deliver. There also appears to be little real future for Ashley Young or Antonio Valencia at the club as their performances have been below par too often this season.
Griezmann is an old fashioned winger with a fantastic left foot. He has great ability and would give United that pace they lack. I think he would be a very good signing and many of the top clubs around Europe are looking at him.
Memphis Depay is a real talent. Another exciting young player to play in the Eredivisie, Depay looks like he has it all to become a top player. He is exceptionally fast and has been likened to Arjen Robben. At 20, he has been capped four times for the Netherlands and has all the talent to make me think he would be a huge success at Old Trafford.
Bakkali is another player to come through the brilliant underage setup in Dutch football. Bakkali is only 18 and has already made his senior international debut with Belgium. An exciting pacy winger with plenty of trick and ability, Bakkali is one of the hottest young players in European football and would be a massive coup for Moyes and United to land such a talent.
I feel that the purchase of Juan Mata means that Manchester United would be at their best with one player up front. In Van Persie and Rooney they have two world class forwards on their day, but both of these need to be the main man.
This is where Moyes and United are faced with a very difficult decision, but with Rooney having been giving the new five year contract it looks as though Van Persie's stay at United could be much shorter then expected.
While I know that I have shortlisted a lot of players who Manchester United should sign, I really feel they need an overhaul in the summer to get back to the levels in which they want to be at. I've gone for a more youthful approach in these signings as the only real value for money is for younger, hungrier players coming in to replace the old guard of United players that have served so well for many years.
Life after Fergie has been a real eye opener for United and in particular their fans as a big summer approaches for Manchester United and indeed Moyes as they look to restore some pride in this great club and recapture the imagination of everyone in the Theatre of Dreams.
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