Playing football manager is a trial in itself sometimes; the media hunting you down like a savage pack of wolves, the chairman shining his magnifying glass onto your mere ant self and the players throwing more tantrums than a teething kid. So imagine how torturous, energy-sapping and alcoholic inducing the real job is. Not only that, imagine how difficult it is to be the messiah, the chosen one, as David Moyes is.
At the minute, Moyes is not the messiah; he’s a very naughty boy. But there are strong rumours that he will receive £200 million to spend this summer. So donning my very best artificial Alf Ramsey hat, I shall express how I think the prodigal son should spend his ransom.
Dave has had much trouble trying to fit Juan Mata into the team in his best position as a number 10. So really, before he even contemplates tapping up anymore players, he needs to come up with a system that he wants to play; preferably, for any United fans out there, he doesn’t opt for an archaic 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 system he often drilled his Everton team to.
Personally, I believe Wayne Rooney to be Manchester United’s best player, therefore on that basis I would build a team and system around him. Of course, Moyesy shouldn’t be as wooden as to play the same system every game but predominantly, I’d be playing a 4-2-3-1 system with Monsieur Shrek playing in HIS best role as a number 10.
With Nemanja Vidic confirming his departure this summer and Rio Ferdinand now about as useful as a chocolate fireguard, the centre back positions at Old Trafford are looking mighty weak. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones fill the youthful, English criteria in those places but to improve, they are in desperate need of some experienced players who are at the top of their game, i.e. 27/28 years of age. Jonny Evans I’m afraid should be shown to the door marked ‘Exit’ because he is not a ‘Manchester United player’.
Ferdinand was the ball playing centre half; Vidic was the no nonsense one and that’s why their partnership worked so well. This needs to be repeated. No corners should be cut with this position as it is part of the spine of the team. After all, all great teams are built on their defensive qualities initially.
I could be optimistic and name Dante as a perfect candidate for this role, but the current position of the two clubs would make this deal impossible. Therefore, the two players I would buy with my fairy tale bank account would be Jan Vertonghen of Spurs and Leonardo Bonnuci of Juventus. Both of them are 26 and so are both hitting the prime of their career. Equally, they have both played at the top level of the game and regarding Vertonghen, it would not take him long to settle in. The brilliance of these two is that they each are a mixture of cultured and old-fashioned centre halves. They could both be bought for £20 million each.
Total spent so far: £40 million.
Patrice Evra’s debut game for Manchester United was in a derby game; his direct opponent that day was a certain Trevor Sinclair, who was in the twilight years of his career. It must be said that Sinclair ran rings around poor Patrice back then. Since then however, Evra has gone on to be a class left back nevertheless, it is now pretty obvious that he’s getting absolutely Trevor Sinclair’d every week. As for the other side, Rafael Da Silva will never, ever be a good footballer for the simple reason that he is football, and quite probably otherwise, stupid.
If Moyes’ footballing brain is the same as mine, then I expect he would want two attacking full backs to play in a 4-2-3-1 system. There are two extremely obvious candidates for this job role; people who have been rumoured all season with a move to Stretford: Luke Shaw and Leighton Baines. Again, the acquisition of these two would fulfil the English player quota as well as adding both youth and experience to the squad. There is no doubting the quality they both possess, the only question mark is over whether they can do it on a European stage, which of course is of no concern in the short term.
Baines: £15 million
Shaw: £15 million
Total spent so far: £70 million
In my 4-2-3-1 system, I’d have Rooney, Mata and then a pick of Januzaj/Valencia/Young etc. behind the striker. The two deep lying midfielders would have to be defensively sound, as they would have to cover the two marauding fullbacks. Any one of United’s current quota of Fellaini, Fletcher or Carrick could do that job, albeit they may not have the pace to cover the pitch from side to side. However, what that squad is really crying out for, and what would be essential in a system like this, is a box-to-box man. A man with power, stamina, an eye for goal and without fear of a forward pass.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many of these talents emerging from the Yaya School of midfielders. If the boss was really willing to take a plunge on a rough diamond, his former protégé Ross Barkley would be a great buy. He has the engine, the touch and the strength to be a huge player, but he’s still in need of a lot of grooming. Ironically, the Red Devils had themselves a man that could have taken up this position for them in the infamous Paul Pogba. Another one of Sir Alex’s nasty presents to the new boss.
For a more polished player, United could turn to two players in Miralem Pjanic of Roma or ?lkay Gündo?an of Borussia Dortmund. Aged 24 and 23 respectively, both have been instrumental in the recent fortunes of their clubs, both domestically and on the European stage.
In all honesty, the United midfield could do with more than one of these players so I’m going to punt for Barkley and Pjanic.
Barkley: £20 million
Pjanic: £30 million
Total spent so far: £120 million
Personally, I don’t believe Robin Van Persie will be a Manchester United player next season. In my opinion, he signed for Alex Ferguson and Alex Ferguson only and now Moyes is in, he’s got both eyes on playing in the World Cup over everything else. With this in mind, that is why I have left a large sum of money over for the purchase of a top quality striker. The trouble is, without Champions League football, it is going to be very difficult to attract the crème de la crème of European football.
So there are two options: cast the net out for the biggest fish in the ocean, the likes of Diego Costa or Falcao. Or, make your net size a little smaller and bag yourself two quality strikers that are currently outside of the bracket ‘World Class’ but have the potential. After all, it could be mooted that Wayne Rooney is World Class….
Two such players that fit this criterion; two players that have proven their worth in the Premier League: Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke. With the added bonus that they are both Belgian and therefore could strike up a lethal partnership if you wished to play that way, these two lads would fit perfectly into a 4-2-3-1 system. Their youth, strength and power would add a very different aspect to the current list of United strikers.
At least £60 million spent either way you look at it.
Total spent: £180 million<
So there it is Dave. Football management; it’s easier said than done.