For the first time in 27 years, Manchester United fans will approach the new Premier League season with some doubt lingering in their minds.They may have not had the strongest team on paper each year but the presence of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson instilled faith and confidence that Manchester United would compete at the top level and more often than not, taste success.
The sun has set on Sir Alex’s glorious career however and now the whole world waits with baited breath to see how Manchester United will cope in the post-Ferguson era.
David Moyes had been the bookmaker’s favourite and the outgoing Scot’s favourite too and thus got the job with minimal fuss. However, the challenges are to be plenty and different from the ones Moyes has already faced in his long tenure as Everton boss. With the watchful eyes of Sir Alex from the board and those of the fans and the press ready to judge and compare his every move to that of his predecessor, David Moyes has shown some signs on why he has yet to get accustomed to the Carrington Road environment.
1. De Ja Wayne
David Moyes and Wayne Rooney had a public falling out at Everton with the latter accusing his manager of trying to block his move to Manchester United in his autobiography. Now, David Moyes finds himself in the same situation all over again having to persuade his wantaway star player to stay at the club.
To add to his woes, interested parties to woo him away seem to come from within the country in Chelsea and Arsenal. Chelsea have raced into the lead with Jose Mourinho fuelling up the media by declaring “Rooney or bust”. The frustration showed in Moyes’ press conferences while denying any links but his comments on Rooney being “needed” in case of an injury to Robin Van Persie has not helped matters.
Moyes has a tough choice to make whether to sell him to a direct rival which will no doubt make them stronger or to keep an unhappy player in his camp. The comparisons to Ferguson will no doubt resurface here as Sir Alex managed to convince Rooney to do a u-turn and stay with the club in a similar situation in 2010.
2. Transfer Targets
Though these are early days in the transfer window, Manchester United have not strengthened their squad significantly and have missed out on valuable targets such as Kevin Strootman and Thiago Alacantara, who would have been a marked upgrade to their current midfield.
United have stepped up their interest in Fabregas but as Arsenal have first dibs on the player, they could yet see another deal go south. Moyes has also been unsuccessful in raiding his former club for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini. With the owners giving the green light to spend money, David Moyes needs to make a couple of signings to compete in the upcoming season with Chelsea and Manchester City.
The fixture list has not been kind on the new Manchester United gaffer with United scheduled to play title rivals Chelsea at Old Trafford in the second week of the Premier League immediately followed by a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool.
David Moyes has a lot banking on both these games especially the one against a resurgent Chelsea with Jose Mourinho back in the dugout and what could be a sensational return to Old Trafford within weeks for Wayne Rooney wearing blue. It is essential for David Moyes to get the right results from these games as failure to do so would invoke criticism from the media and the fans would get on his back.
David Moyes needs to step up to the plate and guide the defending champions through this transition phase to establish the next dynasty after Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson for Manchester United.