Are Baines and Herrera good enough for Manchester United?

Leighton Baines

Reports emerged this week via a number of sources that Manchester United manager David Moyes will be given a £50-£80 million ‘war chest’ to spend in January.

The Red Devils have suffered their worst start to a Premier League season in a decade and new manager Moyes has come under criticism for his team’s lacklustre performances since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson following their 20th league title win.

Moyes, along with new chief executive Ed Woodward, also came under fire w=for what some have called a ‘botched job’ in the transfer market this summer. United’s £28 million deadline day signing of Marouane Fellaini from Moyes’ former club Everton wasn’t enough to satisfy fans of the club which had been unsuccessful in numerous attempts to sign Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, Gareth Bale, Ander Herrera, Fabio Coentrao and Fellaini’s Everton colleague Leighton Baines.

Now, after a poor start to the season that sees the Red Devils 12th place in the table after 6 games played, owners the Glazer family are reported willing to give the new manager the funds to go and improve his squad and boost his hopes of retaining the title in his first term.

David Moyes has maintained he will spend in January and, if reports are to be believes, he is still keen on acquisitions he failed to make in the summer – Baines and Herrera – but are those two players the best he could get for a proposed £50 million or more.

Baines in undoubtedly the Toffees best player – the English fullback has already scored twice for Everton this term after netting no less than 7 goals and making 8 assists from the left flank in all competitions last term under Moyes.

However, as I’ve outlined previously, Baines is now 28 years of age and, due to the form, fitness and consistency of Chelsea’s Ashley Cole, he’s never really been a first choice for England at international level and, despite his exceptional talent and work rate, I still have reservations over whether he is anywhere near ‘world-class’ which, in the grand scheme on things, is the level of ability a club like Manchester United should be targeting.

Meanwhile, Ander Herrera is also a top player for Athletic Bilbao – a local boy who, now 24 is one of the up and coming playmakers in La Liga. However, Hererra has yet to be involved with the Spanish national team at senior level, despite the fact the likes of Fabregas has been a regular performer since he was 19, Thiago Alcantara made his senior debut at 20, and Isco made his debut as a 20-year-old this year.

Herrera, by comparison, is not anywhere near ‘world-class’ midfielder of the same technical level as his aforementioned compatriots. If United are going to spend £20-plus million on Baines and £25-plus million on Herrera they will be using up a large part of this supposed ‘war chest’ on player who will undoubtedly improve the squad but they won’t improve the overall quality level of Moyes’ team by any great margin – Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez, Michael Carrick, Shinji Kagawa, and even youngster Adnan Januzaj are all top quality players either already at world-class level or on their way there.

For £50 million United could have the likes of Ilkay Gundogan or Juan Mata maybe, perhaps a left back like Coentrao or an attacking midfielder like Angel Di Maria – I don’t understand why Ander Herrera and, to a lesser extent, Leighton Baines are being shortlisted as primary targets when the funds to go out and buy the highest quality are going to be made available to the manager.

image: © wonker

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