Manchester United risk being left behind by rivals

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Manchester United's shortcomings so far this season can be somewhat attributed to the loss they sustained when Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

There was never any doubt that the months immediately following his departure were going to be trying times for the club, but few could have predicted such a shift in emphasis at Old Trafford.

As it stands practically the very same United side that Sir Alex Ferguson led to the Premier League title at a stroll last campaign, is sitting in 12th place in the Premier League, with a mere seven points from six games.

I for one though am not about to say United are a team in decline just yet- I've done it before and it's backfired more explosively than a blocked shotgun.

What we can take from the present predicament that seems to have everyone rushing for the panic stations, is that there is perhaps even more work to be done with the team than anyone could have envisaged.

If David Moyes wants to stop the place falling down around his head then the changes need to be run immediately.

For me the problem doesn't necessarily lie with the fact that they appointed the former Everton boss as manager, as anyone would have struggled to come in and lift the reigns off the floor where Ferguson had just set them down.

The main issue is the fact that during Sir Alex's tenure, United settled into a routine and very unique way of doing things.

Sure, there were seasons when United spent in excess of what a player was worth but for the most Fergie was gifted at taking fairly average players and turning them into a solid unit that would get the better of their opponents more oft than they were beaten.

Unfortunately that talent departed the day the 71-year-old left the dugout for the last time, and there isn't another man alive who has the ability to replicate it to such devastating effect.

United, and it pains me to say it, must catch up with their rivals where spending is concerned, if they want to remain in contention for the most sought after trophies.

Their unconventional, albeit massively productive, way of doing this will no longer survive the unforgiving nature of the modern game without Ferguson, and the current squad is in dire need of a revamp.

Talks of a £60million warchest which will be handed down to Moyes to spend on transfer targets in January are encouraging, but it's only a start.

The likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal are far more accustomed to the way games are won when you don't have the advantage of Sir Alex Ferguson, and United need to catch up with them if they are to maintain greatness.

Mega-spending and offering players everything under the sun to attract players to your team and keep them there has become a common practise in today's football, and it's something United must embrace to avoid being left behind.

In January Moyes will most certainly pursue a number of high-profile targets, but he must ensure that beyond that his club are still ready to pay their way to success in the form of the best players, rather than relying on rising the figures they do have to be above their stations in terms of what's realistically achievable.

The Premier League champions must adapt with the times and keep up with the likes of Chelsea and City, or risk fading slowly away from the summit of world football towards the mediocrity of mid-table.

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