Over the last week or so, a topic to have circulated most of not just football, but the sports industry in general, is that Sir Alex Ferguson would be stepping down as manager of Manchester United come the end of this season.
Of equal importance was the swift revelation that it would be David Moyes taking the managerial reins at Old Trafford, reportedly hand-picked as replacement by Ferguson himself.
But after 26-and-a-half years of enduring success, just what can the Red Devils expect from their incoming helmsman?
It’s clear that Ferguson found a formula to have suited him, but can Moyes improve upon what was already working so well for the club, and just what will the current Everton boss keep the same?
As is the case with anything one purchases in life, we can sometimes grow attached to the things we love, even if that thing doesn’t deserve such priority.
The manager/player relationship is a funny one, and as well as making his fair share of savvy purchases, Sir Alex can also be pulled up for a few mistakes in his time at the Theatre of Dreams.
With a new manager at the club, David Moyes will undoubtedly come into the Manchester United setup with a completely neutral view on almost all of the playing staff, all of whom will be going through an inevitable review process this preseason.
Of course, the Scotsman will already have developed opinions on some players having featured in the Premier League against them for the past decade.
That being said, a new opinion, one from outside the club and totally unafraid of hurting anyone’s feelings has come at just the right time for a side currently harbouring some fringe stars.
Of late, players such as Anderson, Nani and Wayne Rooney have all been involved in summer transfer speculation, and Moyes’ shrewd eyes should be able to give a simple yes or no on just what sort of future Old Trafford holds for each squad member.
Kenwright & Moyes
As well as being a cheap acquisition himself after seeing his Everton contract expire at the end of this term, David Moyes promises to squeeze a penny or two when it comes to transfers upon arrival in Manchester.
Under a Bill Kenwright budget at Goodison Park, Moyes learned to make do with what little he had, albeit with the odd splurge every now and then.
Although his transfer war chest will be substantially increased at Manchester United, it’s important that the 50-year-old doesn’t lose touch with the policies that made him get such value out of a player whilst at Merseyside.
That’s not to say that Moyes’ tactics when it comes to the transfer market shouldn’t be extrapolated in order to meet the Red Devils’ usual standards, but he need not be so eager to splash the cash.
Inheriting the vast scouting network built up under Sir Alex Ferguson and with the Glazer family’s funding, Moyes will inevitably be tempted to take the “kid in a candy shop” mentality this summer, but it’s vital that he resist.
No, not the sweet. Although some touchline confectionery might be nice.
Instead, the most physical benefit of Moyes coming to Old Trafford at this moment in time that all United supporters will be hoping he takes advantage of is his swing when it comes to Evertonian stars.
Recent months have seen both Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines linked with a move to the Premier League champions, according to the Daily Mail.
When you consider that central midfield and left-back are two areas in which the Red Devils might actually need some reinforcements next season, such speculation starts to become so much more believable.
However, an inevitable factor in any move is whether or not Everton want to sell. Bill Kenwright has developed a reputation for being particularly tight-fisted when it comes to the sale of his players, and even his fondness for Moyes must be put out of the equation when it comes to business.
When Brendan Rodgers moved to Liverpool last summer, he was understood to have made a gentleman’s agreement with Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins that there would be no “player raid” for the Welsh club’s star players.
Although no such deal has been publicised between Moyes and Kenwright yet, the Toffees owner will certainly try to convince his former colleague of making a similar arrangement in the name of his team’s development.
Barkley (Right) impressing in the Everton first-team
An attribute that Ferguson and Moyes unsurprisingly share and is unquestionably one of the qualities that the former found most attractive in the latter is their common love for homegrown talent.
Just as Ferguson is famed for his “Class of ‘92” and countless other British and Irish youngsters to have ascended from academy prospect to first-team star, Moyes has also shown a similar taste for local skill.
During Moyes’ time at Goodison, the likes of Wayne Rooney, Ross Barkley, Jack Rodwell, Leon Osman, Victor Anichibe and more have emerged from the Everton academy, displaying great deals of potential within their own parameters.
Not to mention all the British talent that continues to thrive in the Toffees’ side compared to the sides around them in the Premier League.
Although they have their portion of foreign acquisitions, Manchester United still manage to keep a very British feel about their side, something that most elite sides struggle to do in their respective nations, and it is something that can only enamour Moyes among his new home fans.
With Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez, Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney (for now) at the club, Manchester United have the most fearsome attack in the Premier League, and one that will score goals. It’s as simple as that.
So, with that side of things seemingly taken care of, it’s the defence with which Moyes will need to devote most of his inbound know-how, and it is something the club might’ve needed at the start of the 2012-13 campaign.
Back then, the Red Devils’ defence looked to be in tatters, and although it’s gone under massive improvements since Christmas 2012, the Scotsman will need to ensure an identical drop in standards doesn’t occur again.
In recent seasons, Goodison Park has held one of the finest home records in the English top flight, despite not having the finest record when playing top teams away from home.
United have won just once in their last five league trips to Everton, losing twice and drawing twice, meaning Ferguson’s men have experienced first hand just how hard it is to break down their back line of late.
With a new roster at his disposal, Moyes will need to craft an even stronger fortress not just at Old Trafford, but one capable of holding its own all over Europe, too.
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