It’s been a tough start to the season for David Moyes and Premier League champions Manchester United following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson last summer.
The club’s failure to bring in a number of top targets this summer including Cesc Fabregas, Ander Herrera, Leighton Baines, Daniele De Rossi, and Fabio Coentrao will be reason enough to ensure the manager and his team do everything they can to improve the squad in January.
According to reports this week, the boss could be given as much as £200 million to play with in the transfer market in his hopes of making the top four this term after a tough start to the season.
The Scot has been playing down his chances of making big signings and I would suggest that could be a hint that he may not be feeling that confident to go out and spend vast sums of money this year.
He has stated that it is difficult to find the right players available in January as many managers have said but is there perhaps another factor in his decision-making?
We have seen at Tottenham only recently how much added pressure is applied to a manager already in a difficult and somewhat precarious position when huge investment is expected to pay off on the pitch.
Spurs spent over £100 million this summer on seven new players under Andre Villas-Boas who was sacked from his job just a couple of months after the outlay generated by the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.
In fact, there is an argument to be made that the worst thing a manager under pressure needs to be doing is adding more pressure onto himself by spending, for example, £200 million in January – what if United still don’t win a trophy or make the top four come May?
What if those signings that come in take time to settle and fail to impress, such as the case with £28 million summer signing Marouane Fellaini?
Furthermore, what if the board’s backing of the manager wears thin after pumping cash into his pockets?
These are the questions David Moyes will likely be asking himself this month and, subsequently, I’m not remotely surprised to see him playing down the likelihood of him bringing in top player for top prices.
He must have considered the fact that, for example, spending more than £20 million this time last year didn’t stop QPR from going down to the Championship last term and there are no guarantees that spending ten times that would improve Manchester United’s chances of retaining the title.
In many ways, Moyes could be making a rod for his own back come May if he spends big in January - the kind of disillusionment and frustration we've seen from the fans in the last few months would surely only worsen if the boss fails to make the money spent work for him this season.
There is a strong possibility that spending big this month will only add big pressure to the already beleaguered boss.
In the business world, they say time is money, but in the business of football, more money doesn't always buy a manager more time.
image: © Paolo Camera