The David Moyes experiment was a disaster from start to finish, with only a few moments of joy. Inevitably after failing to secure transfer targets in the summer of 2013, it was going to be a struggle. Failure of progression causes stagnation, and missing out on key targets was a major problem.
Although Moyes acquired a team of champions, he was not able to inspire the players anywhere near the levels that were demanded by United’s predecessor. Moyes was successful in keeping hold of Wayne Rooney, now United’s captain, and persuading Adnan Januzaj to sign a five year contract which should be praised. He also prized Juan Mata from Chelsea, a fantastic asset for the side, when played his favoured number 10 role. Unfortunately for Moyes, taking one of the biggest clubs in the world from top to mid-table is going to have its consequences, and he was eventually sacked.
Temporarily Ryan Giggs took over, but United have now entered a new era with Louis van Gaal.
First of all, van Gaal is a winner. He has achieved great success with every team he has managed, and won the league with all of them. In Europe he has also won the Champions League, so it is clear that he can deliver triumphs and trophies.
Van Gaal took an average Holland side to the World Cup Semi-Final and United had a great pre-season defeating Real Madrid and Liverpool. It should not be startling that the Manchester United fans have regained their belief. There is a new sense of optimism.
The transfer window has just slammed shut, and it is hard to believe the players that have been signed after the disaster that occurred last summer. United signed six excellent players, with two in the world class bracket, Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria. Incredibly, Manchester United are still being criticised for their actions. There has been talk of United mirroring Real Madrid’s ‘Galactico’ philosophy, and disapproval on United abandoning their traditions and losing their emphasis in youth. These claims are wrong.
The Manchester United philosophy is about winning and succeeding at the highest level. Change had to happen because this was not the case last season: The other big clubs in the country had stormed ahead. United were miles behind in terms of quality.
Success in this transfer window means they are back and they can compete at the top again. Many argued their beliefs have been thrown away with the sale of Danny Welbeck, but if you had the choice of playing Falcao or Welbeck up front, who would it be? Fans need reminding that Welbeck forced the move, understandable as he was not shown enough faith from van Gaal. He felt his chances would be even more limited this season with only 35 league games and the FA Cup fixtures to play in.
United gave James Wilson and Tom Lawrence their league debuts at the end of last season. Jesse Lingard and Tyler Blackett were given their debuts this season. There are currently 12 home-grown players in the squad, but United have supposedly abandoned their youth. Ultimately, the youth system cannot be relied upon and quality was and has always been needed.
If a mid-table position became a regular occurrence, then the top youth players might avoid joining the club, causing further problems. It was surprising to see United compared to City and Chelsea, when both clubs have only 2 home-grown players in their squads. There is also this dispute that United have overspent. £31.7m has been spent per major trophy in the last 10 years. Chelsea spent £53m, Liverpool £60m and City £132m.
Manchester United have not abandoned their philosophy, or their youth, but have addressed key areas which were not amended by David Moyes. The fans now have a team and a squad that they are happy with again, and once this team gels, will surely challenge near the top of the table. It would be hard to imagine a team full of so many great players produce another season of failure. To get back into the Champions League would be a great achievement and anything else a bonus.
Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comment box below.