10 Bold Decisions Manchester United's New Manager Will Have to Make This Summer
This was going to be a big summer for David Moyes. There had been reports of huge amounts of money to spend in the transfer window which would allow him to bring in the players he believed he needed to turn Manchester United around.
Key players would be leaving, and he was tasked with deciding which ones should go and which ones should stay.
But with the planning probably a part of his daily thoughts, Moyes was sacked, and now the decisions that need to be taken to reverse the decline will be made by someone else.
So, in order to get United back into the top four, keeping the players and fans happy, what does the new manager need to do?
Sign a World-Class Midfielder or Two
The last time Manchester United signed a world-class midfielder was the summer of 2007 when Owen Hargreaves joined from Bayern Munich.
He gave the club one great year, playing a pivotal role in their league and European Cup double in his first season, but he spent the majority of his time at the club injured.
Sir Alex Ferguson later was very critical of Hargreaves' time at United, as reported by Ben Rumsby in the Telegraph.
The former manager described the signing as a "disaster" and accused him of lacking the determination to overcome his fitness problems. Ferguson also said that Hargreaves was one of his most disappointing signings, having watched him make just 27 appearances for the club in four years.
So maybe fans can blame Hargreaves for Ferguson's refusal to spend the required money on rebuilding the midfield.
The next manager finally needs to replace Roy Keane and spend whatever money is available to do this. There has been a gaping hole in the midfield which has got bigger every season.
This year United have been played off the park in the centre of the pitch by distinctly average teams, so the new manager needs to bring in a Toni Kroos or a Cesc Fabregas, someone with real class and ability, to enable United to get a grip of games.
Stop Pandering to Rooney
Ferguson had claimed that Rooney asked to leave the club, an accusation the player has never denied, for the second time in three years.
In ensuring that Rooney always started in his favoured position, despite dwindling form in the last half of the season, Shinji Kagawa and Juan Mata have been played out of position, when they have been chosen to play.
Year after year, Rooney is always one of the most effective players in the league because of his goals and assists, and now that he is tied to a lengthy deal, the new manager should use him well and when appropriate.
But the idea that Rooney should start as a No. 10 at all costs for fear that playing him in midfield or out wide will make him ask to leave again, is something the new manager must bin straight away.
Bring in a World-Class Coaching Team
It's comical that Moyes opted to replace a world-class coaching team, who pulled the strings behind the scenes to ensure success on the pitch for United, with his back-room team from Everton.
Ryan Giggs must have looked at the likes of Steve Round and wondered why on earth he should take advice from a nobody who had achieved nothing. How were these men, Round and Jimmy Lumsden, going to improve a team of champions?
The new manager needs to bring back a world-class coaching team and maybe give Rene Meulensteen a call now that he's probably realised that management isn't meant for him.
Move Carrick Along
Michael Carrick was shortlisted for the PFA Player of the Year last season, but now look at him. He's had a poor season and will be 33 by the time next season starts.
His experience may be worthwhile, and United simply might not have enough players in his position for them to be able to afford to sell him, but the new manager should do all he can to make sure there are better people available to start week in week out than Carrick.
There's no shame in admitting he was once an important player for United, but those days should be over now, with Carrick used sparingly, to see games out, rather than being relied upon to influence a winning performance.
Get Giggsy Onside
There had been rumours amongst the fans for some time that Ryan Giggs didn't have any time for Moyes. As a club legend and an influential player behind the scenes, this didn't do Moyes' chances of keeping his job much good.
With more and more people discussing Giggs' feelings towards the former manager, the club even went as far as releasing a statement to deny any rift, as was reported by Sky Sports.
Whilst the new manager doesn't need to bow down to Giggs, it wouldn't do him any harm to keep Giggs onside and as part of the backroom staff. He's been there and done it, he knows the club and the players inside out, and could be a real asset to the new manager.
Give Nani a Go
Nani was booed by the Old Trafford crowd when he was subbed off against Stoke earlier this season, and that is a reflection of his unpopularity amongst most supporters.
It's a shame for Nani, however, because when he was played in his best position consistently for a whole season, he was voted Player of the Season by his team-mates.
In 2010-2011, Nani filled in for an injured Antonio Valencia on the right wing and was a vital part of United's record-breaking, 19th title-winning squad.
According to WhoScored.com, he had 23 goals and assists that season, which was a contribution only bettered by Carlos Tevez (26), Robin van Persie (25) and Didier Drogba (24).
Once Valencia returned from injury, Nani was moved back to the left, and he has never been given consistent run on the right since. Having signed a five-year deal at the start of the season, maybe now is the time for him to shine.
But he is a confidence player and will need a manager who is going to give him time, so the new manager would have to be brave to do this.
Use Kagawa and Mata Properly
Ferguson signed Kagawa but insisted on playing him, when he did play him, on the left wing. At the end of last season, Kagawa's former manager, Jurgen Klopp, reflected on how the player had been used.
As reported by the Guardian, Klopp said:
Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United – on the left wing! My heart breaks. Really, I have tears in my eyes. Central midfield is Shinji's best role. He's an offensive midfielder with one of the best noses for goal I ever saw.
This was a tactic that Moyes repeated, meaning that after two years in the Premier League, fans have barely seen what Kagawa is capable of.
Mata joined the club in January but again has rarely been used in his proper position.
If these players were given the freedom to play where they are best suited—behind the striker—then the next manager could have one of the best forward lines in Europe on his hands.
See What the Youngsters Can Do
Adnan Januzaj was on the bench for Ferguson's last game in charge and then broke into the first team this season.
He was one of the few youth team players who got a look in under Moyes, though. The next manager should look at addressing this to go along with the traditions of the club as well as being able to save a bit of cash in the transfer market.
Nick Powell is currently out on loan at Wigan, and his current boss, Uwe Rosler, was singing his praises to the BBC earlier this season:
I feel after this season Manchester United will get a player back with more experience. That can only be good for everybody involved.
What excites me about Nick is he can play everywhere. He came on as a midfielder, then I put him up front and in many games I play him in a wide position coming inside and I can play him as a number nine because he has a tremendous physique.
Jesse Lingard, Will Keane, Michael Keane and James Wilson are amongst the talented players United already have in their ranks, and the next manager would do well to see what they are capable of in the first team.
Bring in Experience to Guide Defence
Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans are tipped to be the future for Manchester United's defence, but none of them have done particularly well this season.
With Nemanja Vidic definitely leaving in the summer and Rio Ferdinand likely to follow him, the new manager should bring in an experienced central defender to help steer the careers and performances of these three young defenders in the right direction.
Bring Back Top-Class Football
United probably haven't played thrilling football since 2007-2008, despite going on to win the league a further three times in the five years that followed.
United were no stranger to some dramatic endings, though, with them still managing to claw themselves back into a game and score a late winner in situations they probably had no right to, which is something they have lacked this season.
The football has been dreadful, and there has been little-to-no winning mentality.
When they go behind, they look as though they are beaten already, so the new manager needs to rewind back to a few seasons ago. The fans want to see attacking formations and a never-say-die approach to the games, and the new manager should do all he can to ensure this happens.