Is the Everton man the right person for the job after a poor transfer window so far from Manchester United?
Having had a chance for the decision to appoint David Moyes to digest for a couple of months now, it still doesn't seem to be the appointment that Manchester United deserved. A pragmatic approach is needed when assessing a new manager, however it seems bereft of credence as to why this man has the job of the biggest and most lucrative sports team in the world.
David Moyes is a good manager. He's been described as a 'worker' and there's nothing wrong with that. He has been brought up in the same vein that Sir Alex Ferguson was and again, there is nothing wrong with that. His list of achievements read getting Preston North End promoted and working on a limited budget. Outside of the top eight, which manager isn't working with a limited budget exactly? Is that something to put on a CV as an attribute? It's akin to being close to pay-day and getting lunch from Tesco rather than Pret-A-Manger - once again, pragmatism.
Manchester United have a claimed legacy of hiring managers that are there for the long term however it's not hard to look online and notice that other than Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson, the managers in between stayed no longer than 5 years.
Maybe that's why David Moyes has been given a six year contract? Who knows but this appointment wasn't sitting well when announced in June and it still isn't sitting well now. Looking from the outside in, I'm sure other teams are envious of the 'long term project' being afforded to Moyes - case in point being Chelsea prior to re-hiring Jose Mourinho. They could have done with someone like Moyes just to settle the ship and make the team the winners that they should be considering the astronomical amounts of money that has been spent. In light of this, David Moyes at Manchester United just doesn't look right from any angle.
Staunch United fans are built as such to stick by whoever is in charge. That is not a bad thing in any respect. It is why football exists. A team is chosen to be supported and the key word here is 'supported' and regardless of the decisions, the players and manager are backed irrespective of the clientele.
This hasn't been written to create an aggressive response from these fans, in fact they should be applauded for being true to their beliefs when, at the opposite end of the spectrum, football has bred the supporter that is epitomised by Piers Morgan. No more words need to be said about such a person.
The dilemma here is that it is quite clear that across Europe, not one of the top three or four teams would have hired David Moyes as their manager. To lure players to a club, the footballer looks at the manager first and himself second. If the manager is not going to improve a player's ability then he'll have second thoughts. It's a question that needs to be asked: 'Are Manchester United not making transfer moves or are players just not blown away by the lure of playing for Manchester United under David Moyes?'
It's a quandary for any Manchester United fan and it's not just transfer activity that seems to be the main problem. Along with Sir Alex Ferguson moving into the upper echelons of the club; David Gill has also moved on to pastures new. David Gill was one of the best CEO’s a football team could have asked for and now two novices: Ed Woodward and David Moyes are in charge (along with many other members of staff) of taking the club forward.
It's a sad indictment for United in that there has been so much change in such a small amount of time. Now time is all that they have for this project to come to fruition and as Moyes has said, it will take a little while for things to get back to normal for fans and players alike.
Alongside the factors mentioned above, the embarrassingly public pursuit of Cesc Fabregas has been something else out of the norm. It's not normal for the pursuit of transfer targets to be in the public domain so much. The norm is meant to be that the manager may or may not admit that he likes the player and after that, the player signs or he doesn't. The parts that have taken place in between have been cringe worthy.
It's not clear as to the strategy here but it's plain to see that it is not working. Fabregas aside, the non-pursuit of the cliché that is Thiago Alcantara was something strange. The media claimed that United were favourites to sign him, only for Thiago's mentor and Agent's brother, Pep Guardiola to come out and say he is the only player Bayern are looking to sign. From there it was only going to end one way, Bayern adding another star to their already star-studded midfield. The odd part of all of this is that after signing, Thiago came out to say that Manchester United didn't make a bid or show any interest at all. Now you can believe who you want but let's just say that Thiago will be one of the best players in Europe very soon and it's a huge opportunity missed if what he is saying is true.
Keeping a keen eye on NewsNow for any transfer activity attributed to Manchester United has been laughable and frustrating. From Baines, to every available midfielder on earth to Ronaldo - not one of these has any credibility to it and herein lays the problem.
Baines created the most chances in the Premier League last season yet £12m was offered. Liverpool skewed the English transfer market with their penchant for paying 6.3 times the worth of a player and with that in mind, £12m found a swift rebuttal. It's moves such as these that are showing Moyes's naivety at now having money to spend. Other than a backup right-back who is sure to go on loan straight away, the only signing Manchester United have made is the appointment of PepsiCo. Now the last time I checked, given that the midfield has publicly been highlighted as an area of concern by Moyes, PepsiCo wasn't and never will be a footballer.
image: © Jason Gulledge