Manchester United are set to undergo a squad overhaul in the summer following a disastrous 2013-14 season.
The Red Devils finished as low as seventh in the Premier League, were knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage, and failed to progress to the final of the either the FA Cup or the League Cup.
Under David Moyes, who was sacked in late April, United went from champions of England to finishing below Everton and Tottenham Hotspur. Not that it was entirely the Scot’s fault. Sir Alex Ferguson may have won the Premier League title with pretty much the same group of players in 2013, but this past season both the midfield and the defence were exposed.
Interestingly, United let go of their two veteran centre-backs: Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. While the former’s contract was not renewed and he himself made this known on his official website, the latter had made his decision to join Inter Milan back in March.
Gary Neville, a United legend who retired from the game in 2011, believes that this could come back to haunt them. The former England international says that although the Red Devils have a number of up and coming youngsters, they needed someone experienced to lead the backline next season.
‘I think it’s a big risk losing Vidic and Rio at the same time’, the Republik of Mancunia quotes the 39-year-old as saying. ‘There are young centre-backs coming through, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling.
'And I think if we’re signing a new centre-back coming from a different country who hasn't played here before, the idea of having a stalwart there would help. I think it’s a risk. But we’ll see how that pans out’.
There have been talks of United keeping their philosophy intact and maintaining continuity, having appointed Ryan Giggs as new manager Louis van Gaal’s assistant for next season. Yet, Vidic and Ferdinand have left, and Patrice Evra could follow them. Defensively, United are a bit short of experience, but given that they are likely to recruit in that department, they may just get away with it.