How Moyes can spruce up the Manchester United's closet
With another horror show for David Moyes and Manchester United after crashing out of League Cup, it’s time for the champions to look at strengthening their squad this January window if they have to finish top four, feels Manu Shankar
Two men in the Manchester United camp are sweating it out in the January transfer window. Manager David Moyes and new chief executive Ed Woodward.
With just 7 days of the window remaining they are still to secure the first addition. After their no show at the summer transfer window, the Manchester United top brass is looking to make the most of the current window and ensure they don’t goof up this time around.
It doesn't come as a surprise to read that Moyes & Co. are flying air miles to try and grab the best. United certainly need players who can rejuvenate the side, more so after Chelsea’s 2-0 win at the Stamford Bridge last Sunday that all but killed whatever hopes they may have entertained of retaining the title.
Now they are even struggling to find a place in the Champions League. So what has gone wrong for United thus far?
Rediff.com takes a look at the choices Moyes has to turn around Manchester United's fortunes.
Image: David Moyes
Photographs: Clive Mason/Getty Images
David de Gea has been Man Utd's saviour on many occasions
David de Gea came to Manchester United at £17 million from Atletico Madrid and has grown from a raw talent to a somewhat dependable man to safeguard the Manchester United goal.
He started off on shaky ground under Alex Ferguson, but under Moyes he played saviour on many occasions. The number of goals conceded could have been much more than 27 had he not put a leg out or thrown a fist.
However, the Red Devils will ideally want to have a back-up as well, just in case.
Image: David de Gea
Photographs: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Vidic the sole wall
What can we say about that?
Perhaps, one of the most neglected areas in the team, the defence has always been shuffled around, with captain Nemanja Vidic the sole pillar in the defence wall.
Rio Ferdinand does not have the same command as he used to, while Chris Smalling and Johnny Evans have been erratic.
Smalling came in when John O'Shea and Wes Brown went to Sunderland, but he has been inconsistent, though brilliant at times, and struggled against the likes of Sergio Augero, or a Luis Suarez.
Left-back Patrice Evra’s future hangs in balance with rumours rife that he might leave when his contract ends in June. However, Evra’s head these days is finding the mark through set-piece goals.
Alex Buttner was used at times in place of Evra and has done a decent job, but still needs a lot to do before he can stake claim for a place in the starting eleven.
Image: Nemanja Vidic
Photographs: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Moyes needs to lure Garay into the United fold
Then there is Rafael da Silva, the Brazilian right-back who has often made impressive runs behind winger Antonio Valencia but never looked like a finished product.
Moyes really needs to bring in at least one strong defender, as both Vidic and Ferdinand are at the fag end of their careers.
Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay could be the answer. Also, if Moyes can lure out Kyle Walker from Tottenham and Luke Shaw from Southampton, it would mean that the Red Devils would not only make one of the meanest defences, but the two can also be used as an attacking front.
Image: Ezequiel Garay
Photographs: Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images
Mata's inclusion should be a positive for United
Strengthening the midfield is THE need of the hour!
Alex Ferguson managed to hang in courtesy the services of Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs, but with Scholes retired, Giggs’s appearance becoming a rarity, it puts loads of work on Carrick.
Anderson failed to live up to his expectations and it is not surprising that he was loaned out to Fiorentina.
What United lack in the midfield is what its peers excel in.
Look at Manchester City. They have David Silva, Yaya Toure; in Chelsea there are likes of Eden Hazard and, of course, Frank Lampard; in Liverpool, you have Raheem Stirling, Jordan Hernderson and the evergreen Steven Gerrard.
Finally, Arsenal, the team at the top this season have their latest signing, Mesut Ozil, in the middle to provide that creativity and flair.
With Mata almost making it at Old Trafford and Ilkay Gundogan of Borrusia Dortmund too in the rumour mills, 'flair play' could make a comeback to United. The out-of-favour Chelsea midfielder will be a good bargain for £37 million considering his magical ability with the ball.
Shinji Kagawa, Thomas Cleverly and Maroune Fellaini have been flops in the central midfield, which is supposed to be the engine room for any team.
Another popular name that’s doing the rounds is former United player Paul Pogba, although it’s doubtful that he will return. And there is also another Juventus player, Arturo Vidal, a viable option.
Image: Juan Mata
Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Moyes would be happy to see the emergence of Januzaj
Antonio Valencia’s best season came in 2011-12. He was scoring goals, providing scoring opportunities from the wide options. With his speed and skill he could breeze past the defenders at will.
Things have not gone his way this season. That sheen is missing and he often fails to provide the perfect delivery for his strikers. Having said that, he must be credited for scoring a couple of goals at crucial moments this season.
Nani and Ashley Young are the biggest disappointments this season.
When Cristiano Ronaldo was playing in the Red Devils’ shirt, Nani, in his odd appearances, showed the team did have a back-up option. However, with Ronaldo’s departure, it seems Nani’s form too went on the decline.
Young was in the news for reasons more wrong than good.
Paris Saint-Germain's Lucas Moura could be an ideal replacement for Nani, who is set to leave Old Trafford. But Moyes would be happy to see the emergence of 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj.
Image: Adnan Januzaj
Photographs: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Van Persie and Rooney in a class of their own
Currently, United have four strikers in the mix in Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck. While Van Persie and Rooney are in a class of their own, Hernandez and Welbeck need to be more productive.
With Rooney’s contract deal to end next year, Moyes should consider buying another world-class striker. Edison Cavani, PSG’s strike force, could be the replacement.
All in all, it’s crunch time for Moyes as the fans are running out of patience.
Image: Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie
Photographs: Paul Thomas/Getty Images