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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Manchester United: Who does Moyes need to axe?

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The January sales are well under way and the great Manchester United clearout may be about to start too. Reports in the Press this week claim midfielders Anderson and Nani could be first victims of David Moyes' new regime, but who do you think the former Everton boss should boot out of Old Trafford?

Moyes faces a huge task in rebuilding this Manchester United side. Sir Alex Ferguson and Robin van Persie virtually won them the Premier League title last season. The manager kept everyone on their toes, squeezing every last ounce of effort out of them, while RVP was simply lethal in front of goal. 

However, the change of manager and backroom staff has had an impact on life at Old Trafford. The Theatre of Dreams is no longer the fortress it once was. Visiting sides are prepared to have a go at United. Under Sir Alex, opposition teams arrived with a plan to contain and frustrate the champions. Now they go there with every intention of leaving with all three points. And the lack of quality in the squad is there for everyone to see.

RvpcelebrateDespite having players like RVP, Rooney, Vidic and Carrick, Manchester United were already falling behind the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City in terms of quality. While Chelsea could boast of having the skills of Mata, Hazard, Oscar and Ramires, and City having Toure, Silva, Nasri and Aguero, United could only muster a brilliant but ageing duo of Scholes and Giggs, a young Tom Cleverley and the hit-and-miss pair of Nani and Valencia.

Sir Alex took - and deserved - a lot praise for repeatedly building new teams during his time in the hot seat, but he deserves some of the blame for the current crisis engulfing the club as apart from Robin van Persie, who was the last top class signing he made? Fergie let the team grow old. Players like Ferdinand, Vidic, Giggs and Scholes have been great servants to the club, but you can't rely on players nearing 40 or those with reoccurring injuries to keep you at the top.

Moyes was always going to find it hard to follow in Sir Alex's footsteps, but rebuilding this squad means it's only going to get harder. I think it was Robbie Savage who claimed it will cost the club £200 million to draw level with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and City. That's a phenomenal amount of money, but he might just be right.

There are a number of players at United who are simply not good enough for the club, but who would you shove out the door?

First off, let's look at those Moyes should move heaven and earth to keep hold of.

Must keep:

David De Gea, Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick, Adnan Januzaj, Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney.

De Gea has come on leaps and bounds from when he first arrived at Old Trafford, although there are concerns that Barcelona may come sniffing for him in the summer as Victor Valdes' time at the Nou Camp may be coming to an end. But De Gea could be United's main man for the next decade and beyond.

Nemanja Vidic may be past his past and a bit susceptible to injury, but the Serbian defender is a beast of a player. Well organised, determined and committed, Vidic is a great defensive leader and he must be kept.

Michael Carrick may not be the rampaging, box-to-box midfielder that everyone has been crying out for but he keeps the ball ticking over, protecting his back four with ease. You can see just how much he means to United when he is injured.

Adnan Januzaj is the one shining light for United this season. Quick feet, low centre of gravity, fearless and creative, United should build their future squad around this man.

Robin van Persie is one of the best marksmen in the business. When he's fit he can't stop scoring. His absence from the first team has been clearly felt. United cannot let him leave.

Wayne Rooney will probably be the hardest one to keep hold of as he only has 18 months left on his contract and will want to add to his personal trophy cabinet. If United miss out on the top four then Rooney could well be off, but if Moyes could convince him to stay then he will find bringing top class talent to the club much easier.

Must go:

Anderson, Nani, Antonio Valencia, Tom Cleverley, Maroanne Fellaini

Sir Alex Ferguson shelled out £20 million on Anderson in 2007, proving once again that the great man wasn't always a hit in the transfer market. The Brazilian has played only 179 times for United, scoring just nine goals, and it's time for them to cut their losses.

Nani is a frustrating player. On his day he can tear defenders to ribbons. The next he can't even cross a ball. I'm not sure what his problem is, but I believe  a change in scenery will be best for all concerned.

Valencia is in the same bracket as Nani. Brilliant one minute, hopeless the next. He has had his injuries and been played out of position at times, but I think it's time to let the former Wigan man go.

Tom Cleverley is a player who offers nothing in the centre of midfield. United already have Michael Carrick to hold the ball and spring the passes around. Cleverley can't tackle, can't score and can't defend. If it wasn't for the fact that he was playing for United he'd be nowhere near the England set up.

Finally Marouanne Fellaini. The former Everton ace was a panic buy in the summer and it has backfired. Fellaini was a decent player at Everton as he fitted into their style of play, but he is not, and never will be, a Manchester United player. The smart move would be to offer him back to Everton and get Ross Barkley instead.

Free to go:

Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Javier Hernandez.

Rio Ferdinand has been a great servant to the club but old Father Time and injuries have caught up with him. His key attributes of pace and ability to read the game have gone. Ferdinand was once a trusted member of the back four, now he can often be the weakest link.

Patrice Evra is free to leave in the summer and I don't think David Moyes will be begging him to stay. The French international has done a sound job for United, but there must be some reason why both Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes have tried to bring in a new left-back over the years.

Javier Hernandez has fallen behind Danny Welbeck in the pecking order at Old Trafford and the Mexican should be allowed to leave. He has only scored one Premier League goal in 12 appearances this season and looks to have lost his enthusiasm for the club.

The rest of the squad - players like Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Darren Fletcher - should all be part of Moyes' future. But they desperately need more big name players alongside them if United are to remain competitive.

So you've read my thoughts on the subject, but who do you think Moyes should boot out of Old Trafford? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

Article by James Warner

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