So as the curtain comes down prematurely on David Moyes’ first year in charge, will we see another year? And if we do, what must he do to try and prove he is the man to take United forward?
The Bayern Effect
United played well across both legs, they were far more effective than anybody would have expected and were it not for Rooney clearly not being 100% fit, and Evra once again proving why he is being shown the door in the summer, United may well have progressed.
There have been questions asked over whether Rooney should have started, but to be honest a 70% Rooney is better than most of the other players within the squad so Moyes had no choice but to play him.
A cursory glance over many of the goals United have conceded – not just this season, but in 2 Champions League finals against Barcelona, and league games across the last 4 years – will show you that Patrice Evra time and time again is caught ball watching, or ineptly attempting to defend. He was at fault for all 3 goals again last night, yes he scored probably the best goal he will ever score, but that’s not what he’s there for. Evra definitely joins Vidic and Ferdinand heading for the exit.
But these aren’t the only players that will most likely be shown the door, Van Persie is unlikely to be sticking around. He’s at the back end of his injury-plagued career and he will want Champions League football next season. He also has expressed feeling cheated by the fact that Sir Alex was only around for one season and he has clearly never enjoyed playing for Moyes.
Nani, despite being injured all year and also signing a 5 year deal in September, will be unlikely to stick around, and Hernandez, Young and Valencia may all be quick to follow.
In essence, regardless of the manager United have to completely overhaul the squad and bring in some world class young and exciting talent.
War Chest Locked?
The one question is will Moyes be given the keys to the $250 million transfer budget? He hasn’t done well this season, that much is true. A look at Everton since his departure also suggests that he massively underachieved with them over the course of 11 trophy-less years. Too often he has displayed tactical naivety and has chopped and changed his team so much that they have been unable to find any sense of rhythm all season.
His panic purchase of Fellaini during the summer hardly bodes well, the potential for effective use of the money at his disposal must be brought into question.
It’s impossible to see Moyes being entrusted with that amount of money to buy new players. United fans didn’t expect a trophy this season, they did expect a top four finish and a few performances to suggest Moyes was the man.
To keep Moyes on would represent a huge risk in terms of the fact that potentially no players will want to come and work with him, they may well find that some of the more established players are tempted away, and his credibility as a manager is at an all time low right now.
With the distraction of the World Cup and the potential for the competition to increase the value of any player that performs well, United will be looking to complete their business very swiftly once the season concludes. This means that the decision over Moyes could be made sooner rather than later.
Can Moyes take United back into the top four within a season? It’s hard to see how. The improvement of Everton, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City will mean that competition next year is as fierce as ever, and with Tottenham looking to bring in a big name manager too, Moyes may struggle next season in the same manner as this.