Manchester United: Discussing David Moyes' Midfield Conundrum
Sir Alex Ferguson left David Moyes the champions of England when he announced his retirement this summer.
As welcome gifts go, it isn't a bad one. The new manager inherited experience in Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra as well as a group of exciting, young players like David de Gea, Rafael, Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck.
And as one last present, the former United manager bequeathed his successor the Premier League's golden boot winner in Robin van Persie.
United have two solid goalkeepers in de Gea and Anders Lindegaard, they're well-stocked at the back and have four competing strikers.
But if there's one area of weakness in Moyes' squad, it's in midfield.
It's a issue that overshadowed Ferguson's last years in charge. There were rumoured moves for Samir Nasri and Wesley Sneijder, but Sir Alex's last outlay for a established midfield player was the £18m he paid Bayern Munich for Owen Hargreaves in 2007.
The problem has become more acute since Paul Scholes' decision to retire and Darren Fletcher's battle with a stomach condition. It has left Michael Carrick, who rivalled van Persie as United's best player last season, as the mainstay of a midfield that, at times, has looked patched up.
It was highlighted in the buildup to the opening game of the season against Swansea. Carrick was ruled out of England's friendly with Scotland with an eye infection, raising the possibility that he might miss the game at the Liberty Stadium.
It left United fans to ponder a midfield of Cleverley, Anderson, Jones or Shinji Kagawa lining up in Wales.
Moyes has tried to remedy the problem in the transfer window with moves for Cesc Fabregas and Marouane Fellaini. But just three days away from a meeting with Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, he's yet to make a major addition.
The midfielders currently at Old Trafford have shown they are capable of winning the league. After all, they did it last season.
But the pressure on Carrick to stay fit and in form is incredible, and United would look a very different team if he was suddenly unavailable. Not even van Persie's heroics would be enough.
Moyes, like Arsene Wenger, has taken the stance that he won't sign players for the sake of it. They have to have the required quality to improve the team.
It's an attitude that should be applauded because there's little point in restricting the development of young midfielders like Cleverley to make room for players who might not be as good, just a little more experienced.
Moyes has got just over a week to make his first signing in his new job. It's always a gamble to twist and introduce a new player into a squad because there's no formula to determine who'll be a success and who'll be a disaster.
But United fans might argue it's a bigger gamble for Moyes to stick with what he's got.
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