If David Moyes finds himself still in the Manchester United job come the summer transfer window not only will he be shaking lady luck by the hand, but he’ll also have a good deal of work to do.
Out with the old and in with the new seems to be the cry coming from the fans, and the Scot would be wise to listen. Not only have United laboured painfully along for the majority of this season, but they’ve done so whilst encumbering a number of players who in truth aren’t fit to wear the shirt. Too numerous are the players who have been regularly lambasted for under performing, and even the most loyal of fans wouldn’t begrudge Moyes a summer clear out.
But if he’s going to do it then he has to do it properly. In short that means borrowing elements of the ruthless streak made famous by some of the most highly-rated managers in the game. Though certain considerations will naturally be taken when Moyes is deliberating whom to ditch and whom to carry with him into his second season in the job, no good will come of retaining weight which could be cut off.
This is why for me the rumours that the club are considering severing their ties with long-term servant Darren Fletcher aren’t as scary a proposition as some will make them out to be. Though the Scottish international still has the ability to break up play and distribute the ball from the middle of the park, he’s never going to be the player he was before the two-year hiatus forced on him thanks to ulcerative colitis.
Moving forward the 30-year-old’s benefits to the exciting new squad Moyes will look to create are few and far between, and though he is a senior member of the team his uses will be limited come next year. It’s not a theory that will ring true with every United fan, and one that throws the most traditional Sir Alex Ferguson values out the window, but selling Fletcher on could actually do more good than keeping him in Manchester.
Perhaps the staunchest defence of the argument in question is that United need to bring in a new centre-midfielder above all else. With Marouane Fellaini having largely flopped in his first year at Old Trafford, Michael Carrick looking less and less the ideal orchestrator of plays and Tom Cleverley practically consigned to be playing his football elsewhere as of next season, it stands to reason that the capture of a class act in the middle of the park will be a top priority.
As such Fletcher is likely to slip yet further down the pecking order, and the chances of him returning to the days when he was a regular starter look comfortably behind him. Of course he’s not the only one to fall into such damning a category. The list of players fit for a departure is long and unforgiving, but only by ridding himself of unneeded baggage can Moyes look to move forward.
Flushing out the more important members of Ferguson’s squad won’t do him any favours on the Christmas card list, but it will almost certainly give the former Everton coach an avenue to build his own team upon which to be assessed, not the one he inherited.