It's clear that this Manchester United team needs an overhaul, which should include quite a few big moves in the transfer market this summer.
With that in mind, could this be David Moyes' team for the 2014/15 season?
David De Gea
While De Gea is still prone to the odd error (see the shot that squirmed through him to set up that shambolic penalty shoot-out against Sunderland in the Capital One Cup), which young goalkeeper isn't? The Spaniard should and will be Manchester United's goalkeeper for many years to come. And to think, as recently as January 2013 there were stories, like this one in the Daily Mail, claiming that United were thinking of selling him.
Another young and extremely talented player who at various points has been rumoured to be on the "out" list at Old Trafford, as claimed in the Daily Mirror, it seems baffling that David Moyes would even consider releasing the Brazilian. Quick, tough and popular with the fans, Rafael looked like he was Gary Neville's natural successor back when the old man was still in the United team, and there has been little to suggest he isn't the real thing in the interim.
Whether or not he will be leaving this summer, United need a replacement for Patrice Evra, whose form is variable at 32 (33 in May). Leighton Baines signed a new contract at Everton recently, so it would appear that Moyes will not be reunited with his former player. The question is whether United should go with a more established player, such as Fabio Coentrao, or look a little further to the future with Southampton's Shaw. They will have to fight off Chelsea, who should also be in the market for a left-back to replace Ashley Cole, but Shaw is the best young full-back in the country, and unless something goes awry will be England's No.3 for some time.
Jones has spent a fair amount of time in different positions this season, but despite his spells at right-back and in midfield, his strongest position is the one that he started out in for Blackburn in the heart of the defence. With Nemanja Vidic on his way and Rio Ferdinand possibly leaving too, it gives a chance for Jones or possibly Jonny Evans to fill the role. They will have to buy someone new, though...
Porto's French centre-back almost joined Manchester City in the January transfer window, and given the form of some of their defenders, one would think they will return for him in the summer, but United have been credited with an interest as well. The Guardian reported this week that United have extensively scouted Mangala, and while he could cost something like £37million, at 23 he would represent a long-term investment.
The heart of the United midfield is the area of their team most in need of surgery and has been for some time. Moyes recognises this, quoted by Ian Ladyman in the Daily Mail as saying: "If you asked me what I needed most, I would have said a central midfielder and a left-back." Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gundogan certainly fits the bill as a tough midfielder who can control possession, and since Jurgen Klopp's side have shown they struggle to hold on to their best players, a summer move for Gundogan could solve Moyes' biggest concern.
Gundogan will need a partner, and while some of the options United currently have might just about do, none are especially inspiring. David Anderson in the Daily Mirror has reported that United have watched Sporting's William Carvalho at least eight times. If true, it would suggest a bid from Old Trafford is imminent, although the suggested transfer fee of £37million would blow quite a hole in United's transfer budget and would be hefty for a midfielder who has never played outside Portugal.
The first block in the rebuilding process for Moyes, Juan Mata was purchased with great fanfare in January, and although he perhaps hasn't hit the hoped-for heights just yet, popular wisdom states that it is much easier to integrate into a team playing well than one playing badly. Mata will provide the craft and subtlety that United lack in other areas, and it now lies to Moyes to find a position that will get the best from the Spaniard.
The future of Manchester United, Januzaj has shown extraordinary composure for one so young, perhaps because he is a remarkably complete player for a 19-year-old. While he has spent most of his thus-far brief United career on the wing, his best position looks to be in the middle, but with Mata and Wayne Rooney also in the frame for that role, he might have to be pretty flexible. Still, wherever he plays, he should be pretty special.
The Mata signing perhaps suggested that Rooney was on his way out of Old Trafford, but after United refused to sell the England forward to Chelsea last year, they are now said to be on the verge of agreeing a massive new contract. Various sources, including Jamie Jackson in the Guardian, report that Rooney is in talks over a new five-year, £300,000-a-week deal that could also make him United captain. That is obviously a huge amount of faith placed in Rooney and shows that Moyes sees him as the centre of his new United team.
Robin van Persie
Although this season has been hampered by injuries, van Persie has scored a hugely impressive 10 goals in 14 games, suggesting the 30-year-old still has plenty to offer United. With the three creative players behind him, if van Persie can stay fit as he did in 2012/13, Moyes has an attacking foursome as threatening as any in the league. Reports of late, including by James Dickenson in the Daily Express, have suggested that van Persie wants to return to Arsenal, but just 18 months after he left the Emirates, United would surely not allow their best centre-forward to leave as they try to create a new team.
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