Manchester United supporters demand and expect nothing more than a season where they are challenging for the Premier League, Champions League and silverware in general.
This season, after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and the arrival of David Moyes, has been a shock to the system for this great football club. Unfortunately, whilst I expect to see improvements next season, I still believe they will fall short of capturing silverware.
There is no doubt that David Moyes will have money to spend during the summer as he looks to add some more world-class signings to his squad to complement those already there. He will need to add to a squad that clearly have not got the quality throughout that is required to be challenging for major silverware. Juan Mata is without doubt a fantastic player but even his signing throws up more questions than answers and Moyes will need to be clear in his mind how he is going to progress with his side.
Can Moyes play Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata at the same time? If so,
how will he get the best out of them all and keep them happy?
Could Moyes be looking to offload one of his stars in the summer? With Juan Mata a Moyes signing he is a certainty to stay, along with Wayne Rooney with a new contract. However, Moyes may feel that Van Persie, who has been absent with injuries this season, could be the one to go. Van Persie's goals won United the title last season and perhaps served a purpose but will Moyes want to recoup some of the transfer fee that United paid and invest in a younger striker?
Who will Moyes want to offload during the summer? Who has fallen out of favour?
If, or when, Moyes decides to strengthen his squad further it will take time for the new players to gel in a new side and a new environment. Manchester United is not just any old club and the expectations of any United player seems almost higher than at most other clubs. Pressure to perform at the highest level consistently can sometimes affect players, particularly new ones.
David Moyes himself is still learning about Manchester United and life after Sir Alex. He is trying to stamp his own authority on the club but he is no Sir Alex. The club and Moyes will need to time to gel but will United give him the time that they afforded to Ferguson in his early years? Fergie had to start with nothing and had to find ways to establish himself and he also had to rebuild numerous squads during his tenure. Rebuilding new squads takes time and
Ferguson new that in terms of trophies it may mean they have barren spells and this is exactly what Moyes is going through now, it is not a quick fix. The question remains as to whether Moyes can rebuild a squad that can once again compete with the strongest clubs in the Premier League and Europe whilst also regaining the fear factor that visiting teams feel when they visit Old Trafford?
One thing is for sure, the rest of the Premier League smell blood and they will do their utmost to kick United whilst they are down. The stronger clubs will not rest on their laurels either as they sense a frailty at United this season. hey too will strengthen in the summer and the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool will add to their already impressive squads.
Moyes took the decision to bring in his own back-room staff rather than keep those that had served Ferguson so well. His staff also need time to build a rapport with the players and time to establish their own ideas and ways of working. The likes of Ryan Giggs, whilst a useful addition to the coaching staff, will need time to find his feet in a job that is alien to him.
The rebuilding of United has started but it may continue for much longer. Have United supporters got the patience or are they craving instant results? Football has changed since Fergie was afforded the time at the beginning of his reign and due to his subsequent success he had time to rebuild many more squads. Moyes does not have a history of success to fall back on.
Manchester United visit Arsenal tonight in a huge fixture that they will enter as underdogs. They need a performance that will give hope to their vast army of supporters and at the same time a performance that will send a defiant message to their many rivals. It is a long road ahead where patience is the key.
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