David Moyes finally has reasons to look on the bright side.
It is rare indeed that Manchester United should have entered January in a position where winning the English Premier League title is already a lost cause. Despite this being the case—and despite crashing out of both domestic cup competitions this month against supposedly inferior opposition—the last few days have seen a new air of optimism sweep through the club.
Ignore the current league position, ignore the cup defeats and pay no attention to the share prices. The capture of Juan Mata from Chelsea last week has injected a breath of fresh air into the cloying atmosphere that was threatening to subsume the club.
David Moyes has already admitted, the BBC reports, that his mood has improved following the signing of Mata. That the signing coincided with the return of Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney will also have helped. It may be too late to save this season, but the future looks less bleak.
What Mata’s arrival does signify, along with the promise of similar coups to come (per Eurosport), is a shift in the way that the club goes about their transfer business. This can only be good news for Moyes.
Ultimately, you could not see the squad that the Scot inherited, minus the magic dust that Sir Alex Ferguson appeared to sprinkle over them, keeping pace with a now-rampant Manchester City. The cracks could no longer be painted over—they were just too wide.
Following a fruitless summer, the last minute transfer of Marouane Fellaini felt like a consolation prize. Amongst some uninspiring performances, the Belgian has had an injury-plagued start to his United career and it is somewhat unfortunate for him that Mata’s arrival has been heralded almost as the first true signing of the Moyes era.
The United manager has been touring Europe’s elite leagues and The Guardian reported him saying that the number of big players that still want to join the club is incredible. There were question marks over Moyes’ ability to attract players to Manchester United and he knew Fellaini well from his Everton days. He can, however, confidently say that Juan Mata is his player, thus showing the football world that the club can still bring in big names.
To put a positive spin on things, the worst is surely already over. The pressure may still be on to get into that top four—although the club have already said they can cope with a lost season—but The Star tells us that, according to Phil Jones, Mata joining the club has lifted the spirits of the whole squad. It is, however, the effect on David Moyes that may be the most important.
Appearing a little awestruck in the early weeks, Moyes then had every insult and footballing crisis hurled at him. However, with fourth place still in reach, he is starting to see the storm subsiding and he has managed to oversee an important signing for both the club and for him personally.
To continue to be successful, or at least challenge for trophies—and therefore keep a check on those share prices—the Glazer family now understand they have to back their man. David Moyes insists he has a vision for his Manchester United. If the promises are kept, it will be interesting watching it develop.