Make no mistake, Manchester United are in dire need of an overhaul. England’s juggernaut of the last two-and-a-half decades is slowly losing its shine without the iconic Sir Alex to guide them.
Sir Alex Ferguson came into United and transformed them – he was at the helm for 26 years, raking in an impressive 38 trophies in the process and turning the Red Devils into one of Europe’s most feared clubs, and one of the world’s biggest brands.
But as Fergie’s era came to an end, so did Manchester United’s dominance.
While that can be attributed to the aging squad that Ferguson left to his successor, it is also largely an impact of the man who was brought to replace the legendary Scot: David Moyes.
David Moyes was hand-picked to become the man to carry on Ferguson’s work, but has looked anything but.
Manchester United have been a shell of their former selves, playing direct, mindless football despite possessing two of the world’s best strikers and a phenomenal attacking midfielder in Juan Mata.
They have lacked the creativity, ruthlessness and style of an elite team, instead resorting to second-divsion tactics that the likes of Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce would be proud of.
Case in point – United’s 2-2 draw with Fulham at Old Trafford. Moyes’ Red Devils attempted a Premier League record of 81 crosses, only 18 of which found a team mate.
A team with top-quality strikers like Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney have resorted to just pounding the ball in towards their heads, despite the two preferring to receive it at their feet.
Mata, one of the most precise passers of the ball in the league, is thrown out wide and asked to just whip in crosses all game long – it is truly embarrassing to the football club.
And not only do Manchester United play like a mid-table Premier League club, but under Moyes, they’re becoming one.
In Moyes final season with Everton, he achieved a 6th place finish with a points total of 63 points; an average of 1.66 points per game. A respectable achievement, but nothing to frighten the title-challenging clubs.
This season, Manchester United are currently earning 1.66 points per game. If they continue in this vein, they will end the season with 63 points – identical to the Everton of last year.
David Moyes, quite simply, has his level.
Eerily similar to Liverpool’s run-in with Roy Hodgson (who had Liverpool on an identical points tally to Hodgson’s Fulham side the year before) before he was fired, Manchester United are finding that Moyes is a consistent manager.
But not in the way that they want.
David Moyes teams will always be like one another; they will be hard to beat, they will cross often and they will play football that will never win silverware and will never be worthy of a great club.
Which begs the question: why hire him in the first place?
Manchester United are losing the greatest manager in their history, so what would a champion do? Try to improve.
Take Bayern Munich for example – the Bavarians won the only treble in their illustrious history last season with Jupp Heynckes, but rather than damage limitation, Bayern decided to replace him with an even better manager.
Take Southampton – the Saints fired manager Nigel Adkins despite guiding them to Premier League football on the back of two consecutive promotions. They hired a young, promising manager in Mauricio Pochettino and have reaped the rewards.
But United chose a different path.
Instead of pursuing a world-class manager to fill Ferguson’s shoes, they settled to hire a manager who spent a decade treading water with Everton.
While they should have aimed for Jürgen Klopp, José Mourinho or Manuel Pellegrini, they ended up giving the job to David Moyes; a mistake that will cost them Champion’s League football this season.
After yet another disappointing result, falling to a 2-0 loss against Olympiakos, the Manchester United board has to open their eyes and see Moyes for what he is.
The squad is undeniably in need of an overhaul – old, average players are hindering United. But handing a transfer war-chest to David Moyes is not the answer.
Like the players that United so badly needs to offload, Moyes’ mediocrity is holding the club back.
Rebuild in the summer, but do it without David Moyes at the helm – with the club’s best interests, Moyes should be the first one out the door.