It has been nearly a year since we heard about the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and that David Moyes would be the man to replace him. It hasn’t really gone to plan for Manchester United since then, and in the end United did what the vast majority believed they should have earlier and sacked Moyes. It had all seemed so promising after their Community Shield win and 4-1 victory against Swansea at the start of the season, but it quickly went downhill after that.
Moyes was given the whole summer to prepare his team, but in the end the rushed signing of Marouane Fellaini was not enough for a Manchester United team in great transition. January was the same, it is hard to call a player with the quality of Juan Mata a rushed signing but that’s exactly what he was. Signing Mata, whose best position is as a number 10, whilst also giving Wayne Rooney a new contract and needing Robin Van Persie’s goal threat added to Moyes selection dilemmas rather than helping.
During his time at Manchester United, Moyes did not know his best XI. The team didn’t have an identity and this was highlighted during the loss to Everton at the weekend. Although there are many reasons why Moyes was sacked, Sunday’s defeat showed that he had taken United backwards rather than forwards. Roberto Martinez was hired instead of Moyes at Goodison, and he showed what a team is capable of with good tactics and a strong philosophy. Moyes brought neither to Manchester United and suffered for it. In the end, he was not someone the Glazers could risk with a load of money going into the next transfer window. It is easy to forget that he had spent around £65 million in his time in charge, without seeing any fruits from it. So after ten months of a six-year deal, Moyes found himself out of a job.
Moving on, United need someone to steady the ship. Ryan Giggs has been given the job on an interim basis until the end of the season, and that is as long as it should last. Maybe Giggs will be the man to take over one day, but this is currently not the time. United need an experienced manager to guide them through the next few seasons at least. Giggs could stand alongside that manager in an assistant capacity if he is eventually to be groomed for the role in order to keep some continuity at the club. Already Louis Van Gaal has been earmarked as the favourite for the role. This seems like a perfect fit for United at the current time. Van Gaal is currently the Dutch national team manager but will leave his post after the World Cup in Brazil. Van Gaal is therefore a great candidate, as he will not be sacrificing anything to take the job, so United’s failure to be in Europe will not matter.
If experience is required, Van Gaal has that in abundance. He has over 20 years of managerial experience on his CV at clubs such as Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, so he will be able to cope with the weight of expectation. It is clear that Moyes did not have the experience to deal with such a large establishment. Although he had plenty of Premier League experience during his tenure at Everton, he had not won anything, nor been in the Champions League group stages with the Toffees. Van Gaal has plenty of European pedigree and although at 62 he will not be around forever, he will be able to stabilise the club.
Another name mooted has been Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp. Klopp has also been reportedly coveted by Barcelona in recent weeks but has continuously stated his loyalty to his current club. Although Manchester United are potentially the biggest club in the world, being out the Champions League is a massive problem. Klopp has built a team at Dortmund and whether he would leave that for an uncertain period at United is the question. With his contract running until 2018, Klopp seems like a man of his word, and he stated his “commitment to Borussia Dortmund and the people is not breakable”.
It is clear that whoever United employ will need to be hired early. It is imperative that someone is in place before the World Cup. This will allow the proper preparation to go into next season. The new manager will be able to assess potential targets performances at the World Cup and have a full summer with the team after the World Cup’s completion. Whoever takes over will have an exceptionally tough task. United’s squad needs to be heavily rebuilt this summer. With Nemanja Vidic’s departure confirmed, Patrice Evra looking to move on and the potential retirements Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs, United will be losing a lot of experience in their team. There is also the question of whether certain players are good enough to play for Manchester United. This assessment needs to be carried out as soon as possible by the new man in charge. He will need to not only get United competitive again, but get them back into the Champions League as a number of years out of the competition will hurt the club.
Just as it was last summer, it will be a time of change at Old Trafford this summer. For Manchester United fans, hopefully this time the board can get the decision on a successor right.