Not Strengthening in the Centre of Midfield
Sigh. Manchester United’s central midfield, eh? So much has been said about this already that it feels somewhat like retreading old ground. However, it is so clearly the biggest problem in United’s squad that it bears mentioning again.
Whilst the loss of Anderson is more a loss in theory than in practice, given his limitations and Moyes’ apparent complete lack of interest in him, his departure still means one less player available for selection in an area where United have a serious lack of both quality and quantity.
The signing of Juan Mata is an exciting one, but he and his attacking colleagues need support from midfield. If United had managed to add a top-quality central midfielder with Mata, it would have been a magnificent transfer window, and there would be considerably more optimism about United’s chances of qualification for next season’s Champions League.
As it is, United remain way off the pace in the middle of the park, and getting the best out of the highly-talented forward players will remain an issue.
Letting Fabio Leave and Not Bringing In Left-Back Cover
Fabio’s United career has spluttered since he started in the Champions League final in 2011. With Alex Buttner ahead of him in the pecking order, it is certainly better for Fabio to leave than stay at United and languish in the reserves. He is clearly too good for that.
However, United are desperately short of cover at left-back. Buttner’s defensive abilities are limited at best, and, even though it has really not happened very much, an injury to Patrice Evra would leave United in real trouble.
A left back will almost certainly be arriving in the summer. Moyes may have been wiser to keep Fabio around until then.
Letting Wilfried Zaha Go Out on Loan
Zaha has had a difficult time in his first few months as a Manchester United player. Unable to find a place in a side whose wingers have not exactly shone, many fans have called for Zaha’s inclusion in more first-team action.
He has clearly not been in serious consideration for a place in David Moyes’ starting XI. The decision to send him out on loan is the final proof of that.
Zaha's former boss, Ian Holloway, questioned his attitude in his column in the Sunday Mirror. Perhaps this alleged attitude problem is part of the reason Moyes has not seen fit to involve Zaha in much first team action.
However, he clearly has some fine attributes. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have endeared himself to his new charge with suggestions to Sky Sports that he has similar attributes to Cristiano Ronaldo.
The other problem with sending Zaha on loan is the message it sends to the player. If Holloway’s allegations around his attitude are accurate then it is understandable that Moyes has taken a hard-line approach.
However, if Moyes does end up staying at United for the long term, might his relationship with Zaha be damaged by his apparent lack of faith in the player?
In Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography, he says that players do not forget the manager that gave them their first chance. Bringing through young players into the big time begets loyalty. Presumably the reverse of this is also true, and limiting a young player’s ability to break through may engender resentment.
On the other hand, perhaps Zaha will flourish under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Cardiff and develop a renewed hunger to prove himself at United, and rather than regretting the decision, United will hail it as a Moyes masterstroke.
As with so much else that is going on at United at the moment, time will tell.