United have been linked with a number or exciting prospects in recent weeks and months – the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, Leighton Baines, Ezequiel Garay and former fans’ favourite Cristiano Ronaldo.
Moyes’ first job will be to, one way or another, settle the matter of Wayne Rooney’s future. If it does in fact lie elsewhere, he’ll likely want to bring in another striker to replace him. If he stays, there will be other more urgent requirements in other areas.
The Red Devils have been heavily linked with Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski for a number of months now – it would appear from the outside that the Polish striker would prefer to leave his current club and it is also apparent that Dortmund are not willing to let him go.
Under the surface, his contract expires in a year’s time and however reluctant they are to letting him go this summer, they’ll surely be even more reluctant to see him walk away on a free transfer next summer.
United’s may have an advantage in that they are a foreign club and Dortmund, having sold Mario Gotze to Bayern Munich, will not want to let another of their prized assets abscond to the Bundesliga champions. If Rooney does end up going, Lewandowski would be an ideal replacement for him in many respects.
However, United also have the likes of Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and, just for good measure, Robin van Persie – their options up front are both numerous and impressive but what they really need is another creative player, especially in midfield.
Rooney has in fact operated in a much deeper role in what is essentially attacking midfield this term to boost the imagination and creative play behind the striker(s). Paul Scholes’ retirement only compounds Moyes’ problems in central midfield areas.
Shinji Kagawa is a fantastic addition but has yet to hit his stride, by his own admission. United have been linked with former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas who, should Barcelona have any inclination to sell him, would be a fantastic target but I have serious reservations about the validity of tenuous links between the club and the player.
His junior teammate, Thiago Alcantara, however is a much more possible prospect for Moyes to chase – according to reports his release clause is just £15 million and for the quality he could add to the team, that would be an absolute steal of a signing.
Moyes is reportedly interested in bringing Leighton Baines with him from Everton but, for obvious reasons, Everton are extremely reluctant to let him go. He would only be a necessity if vice-captain Patrice Evra were to move on and, whilst there had previously been reports linking him with a move back to his native France, they seem to have subsided in recent weeks.
Moyes will inherit a fantastic wealth of central defensive options from Sir Alex Ferguson in captain Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling which makes me ever so slightly sceptical regarding rumours that United are set to sign Benfica’s Ezequiel Garay.
Unless Smalling is sold off, it’s hard to see where a centre-back of Garay’s undoubted quality would fit into Moyes’ first team plans and, as such, I would not expect him to make any huge sweeping changes in that department – especially not for vast sums of money.
Speaking of vast sums of money, it would take a bid of world-conquest proportions to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford. He left for the Spanish capital four years ago and has since become arguably the best player in the world behind a certain Argentinian genius.
I’m not altogether sure that Moyes would want to bring back someone Ferguson sold, for starters – I would imagine and, moreover speculate, that Moyes will be keen to bring his own ideas and imprint his own targets in to make it abundantly clear that he is now in charge and this is a new era for Manchester United.
Bringing back Ronaldo would be harking back to the past and I think Moyes will look more towards the future. However, much the fans crave his return I would be surprised if it happened this summer.
If big money were going to be spent, I would expect it to be on a player like Lewandowski, which, in my humble opinion, is the very best player Moyes could and should sign for Manchester United. The very best value for money, however, and certainly the signing that would most improve the current team would be young Alcantara. I think the Spaniard is the most likely addition to come in.
image: © Roger Gorączniak