Column: Aging Manchester United needs reinforcements
Much to the surprise of those of you who've been reading this soccer column regularly throughout the school year, this week's topic doesn't stray too far from where my heart is, Manchester United. And while I may be across the sea, with my college writing career about to end, it's time to close this Manchester United "college years" chapter for good.
Most unfortunately for myself, and those United fans surrounding me, this season has been utterly disgraceful.
Understandably, stepping foot into the shoes that Sir Alex Ferguson left behind is nearly impossible. However, David Moyes was, and is not, the man for the position. The previous Gaffer was a legend amongst managers, a God amongst men, a tactical genius amongst mediocrity. Plain and simple, Ferguson clearly brought the best out of mediocre players in his squad and made them great. Rafael, Patrice Evra, Tom Cleverley and even Antonio Valencia were flying on all areas of the pitch just a year ago. This season has been nothing of the sort.
Sitting in seventh in the Premier League, it's clear United are deserving of nothing more than their position. While Europa League play is certainly in the cards, it would appear better fit for United to begin on a new slate, focus on the Premier League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup rather than setting their sights on Europa League. While it is absolutely no disregard to the Europa competition, it clearly would bring United into second tier play, which even after this seasons standards, are far beyond that.
As 2014 is a World Cup year, we can imagine plenty of United regulars will be given rest this summer in preparation for Brazil. Wayne Rooney will be given time to recuperate, Robin van Persie can lick his wounds, David de Gea can prepare for another Spanish dominance along with Juan Mata and the rest of the Englishmen in the United squad can prepare for another hopeful, yet potentially dreadful performance in this years competition.
None of this is any surprise, though, as Manchester United now enter a new phase. Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Robin van Persie and quite a few more may be heading away from Old Trafford this summer, which may be for the best. Out with the old, in with the new.
While Mata was certainly a signal of intent from Moyes and the rest of the Manchester United front office, particularly from the Glazer ownership, it would appear the 200 million pound war chest may close as quick as it opened if Moyes is in charge. With the unsettlement in the locker room, evidently a few may never step on the Old Trafford pitch again after this season if the Scot is in charge. And rightly or wrongly so, it's the badge that must be played for-not the money, not the fame, not the manager, but instead for the club and all of its history.
Sure, United supporters may hear linkages to Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani or maybe even a distant cry for Sir Alex Ferguson to step back into the historic grounds. All of which are unlikely to happen and the quicker those realizations can become reality, the better.
The golden years of United may have come and gone, but the recreation of those years is quickly upon us. And while Liverpool looks certain to retain the Premier League title after brilliance from their strikers, United deal with a matter they haven't had to experience in nearly three decades-waiting in the shadows.
The shadows are not as dark as the Deadly Hallows or as unknown as the deepest depths of the Atlantic Ocean, but rather a time where unknown can bring for unparalleled achievement. The 2013/14 season for United will go down as a failure to the entirety of supporters, or even Moyes' staff; however, in regards for room to improve there are plenty of areas.
Ryan Giggs may step aside from football, Van Persie may move off to "greener pastures" and even Nani may work on his tan in a different country come the end of summer.
All are understandable, but as we may come to find out, Moyes may work on his tan as well as he could just as quickly enjoy a longer vacation than normal.
Yes, the search begins.
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