Back again – told you I’d be a bit more frequent with these. I was going to write another one before the turn of the window, but the RT/favourite monsters are out in force at this time of year – and they really enjoy the feeling of smearing egg on someone’s face.
The transfer window had plenty of winners and losers, as it always does. The winners: Spurs, Everton, Cardiff, Southampton. The losers? A more subjective debate…; Newcastle, Sunderland and Manchester United are the names you’ll see mentioned a bit more.
It’s Manchester United I want to dissect, though.
Tweets: Manchester United.
@Guardian_Sport: Manchester United inquest begins after David Moyes era opens in farce.
@waldron97: Unprofessional panic buy with Fellaini, shows they couldn’t acquire top targets otherwise they would have got him earlier for £23.5m
@ZcottAFC: Like an Italian mafia movie. The Godfather dies and the son takes over, but nobody respects him.
@TomKirk_: The issue is how they conducted their business rather than who they ultimately signed. (i.e. declared interest in 7+ players).
The frustration continues throughout twitter. On deadline day ‘#MoyesOut’ was trending for around an hour between Arsenal’s unveiling of Mesut Ozil and the first signs of movement at Old Trafford.
So, the core of this blog post: Am I the only person who thinks Manchester United had a good transfer window?
Throughout July & August I maintained my stance on Moyes, and on Manchester United; it was something along the lines of:
For me, the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson and the welcoming of David Moyes is all the disruption the club needed – the backroom staff were restructured, the players have been unsettled and the board room has had a shake up. Bringing in new faces would only bring another issue: footballing anxiety: Will I play? Am I still in contention? Does Moyes want me?
Furthermore, on reflection, David Moyes is still trying to dissolve the legacy of Sir Alex, and try and put his stamp on a Championship winning dressing room. He’s toyed with 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3, and a flat 4-5-1, all with mixed success. Moyes couldn’t complete his business early because he hadn’t spent sufficient time with the squad. So he did what anyone would do in his position, blank cheque book and a big club… He went for a player he’s always liked: Cesc Fabregas.
As the window continued and players still hadn’t signed – the media spotlight was shining on him, fan pressure mounted and there was a club-wide concern when the fixture list was announced.
Sunday. September 1st. 2013. Moyes’ third game in charge.
By this stage, we’re starting to catch a glimpse of the Moyes footprint. The initial set up of 4-2-3-1 lacks impetus, Liverpool take the lead and they’re looking comfortable. Moyes takes a jump to 4-4-2(4-4-1-1). The attacking threat intensifies – there’s clarity in the tactics. Full backs are overlapping,
Carrick is sitting deep and protecting the centre-backs, Welbeck is running off Van Persie and keeping mobile. Wingers are attacking Wisdom and Enrique.
It’s at this point, 3 games in, that you see a target area: Moyes has his wingers hugging the touchline – further spread than how Sir Alex had them – but Liverpool’s tight-knit midfield of Gerrard–Lucas–Henderson is proving too much for Carrick-Cleverley to handle, to adapt Man Utd will need a physicality to protect Carrick. This match was a turning point for Moyes because he came away from it with a priority; A ball winning midfielder.
On deadline day, he had two targets for the CDM position. 1) Sami Khedira, 2) Marouane Fellaini. He had a deal on the table of Ander Herrera, and he was interested in the left-back position, though wasn’t prioritising it. When the Baines deal collapsed, I believe he was happy to continue with Evra for the remainder of the season, the Coentrao deal smells like an agent called him and highlighted his availability – it was a last-minute pounce, so no surprise it didn’t come off.
I then went back to twitter, re-spoke to a few of the fans mentioned above. There was another key area: Manchester United’s Academy has failed to deliver for a few years – there’s a longing for their very own Jack Wilshere/Raheem Sterling. – Moyes has done some under-the-radar signings of young players, and bolstered the resource of the academy. Long term strengthening.
Some of the criticism of Moyes has been beyond harsh. All things considered, you need to respect that he’s retained Rooney – that he’s working towards getting Kagawa back to fitness and that he’s discovered a tactical problem and spend £27,000,000 to solve it. I expect a much more active window from Manchester United in January, until then the fans need to fulfil Sir Alex’s final wishes in charge: Get behind the new manager.
All-in-all, it’s been a sensible transfer window for a club that has a little bit of rebuilding to do. Man Utd are still competitive in the Premier League and there is no real expectation in the Champions League. The club are set up for the elusive top four finish and an ‘under the radar’ season. The more Moyes is out the spot light, the better. Any manager coming in would have had rebuilding to do. Three seasons will be the barometer of Moyes as a manager at this size club, not one transfer window.
A mention to Jamie Keating – Jamie has helped me complete, edit, and provided fan-based ideas for this blog post. He’s a Manchester United fan. If you enjoy this blog, give him a follow. Follow @jkeating89
Over and out.Follow @_the12thman