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Mata signing has to be just the start for Manchester United

Manchester united look set to complete the signing of Spanish midfielder Juan Mata, but the Red Devils need to strengthen heavily in the summer

Manchester united look set to complete the signing of Spanish midfielder Juan Mata, but the Red Devils need to strengthen heavily in the summer

Manchester United finally look like they are about to sign a world-class player.

Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata looks set to have a medical in Manchester later today before completing a club record £37million move to Old Trafford.

I say about time too. Manchester United has somehow managed to dominate the Premier League in recent seasons with a mediocre team.


The only reason that Manchester United have been able to challenge at the top of the table in recent years was the influence that former-boss Sir Alex Ferguson had on his team, the media and opponents. The wily old Scot was the master of mind games.

He would manipulate situations in his clubs favour and therefore gain an advantage over opposition teams. In many ways Ferguson was a great illusionist, making last season’s Manchester United team appear like world beaters.

This season the Red Devils have virtually the same team and the magic is lost, because Mr Ferguson is no longer holding the cards. The sorcerer’s apprentice seems to have lost the spell book.

Learning curve

Ferguson’s predecessor David Moyes is more accustomed to battles for Europa League places and midtable positions than battles for Premier League titles and Champions League spots. The younger Scot is on a very steep learning curve.

By no means do I believe that Moyes is a poor manager, I just think he will take time to get accustomed to the expectations of him and his team. Moyes was a cautious manager at Everton and it meant that the Toffees never really took any risks to win games.

Moyes spent so much time not trying to lose with Everton, that he has forgotten how to win games. This season Everton have proved what they can achieve with a more adventurous boss at the helm. Moyes has to adapt his mentality to take more risks and he will then earn the rewards from it.


Much of the Manchester United squad is now mediocre. Beyond Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie it is difficult to see much class within that United squad. The likes of Adnan Januzaj, Phil Jones and David de Gea are all players with big potential, but a club the size of United should not have to rely on such youngsters to get results.

Manchester United were expected to compete for the Premier League title this season, but not enough of their players are good enough for that challenge. Very few of the current United team would get in Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City’s teams at the moment.


Manchester United are looking short of quality in most departments and David Moyes may have to go for revolution rather than evolution. The signing of Juan Mata is probably the first step in Moyes attempting to change things at Old Trafford.

The likes of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra could all leave United this summer. Then there are question marks over the future of England striker Wayne Rooney, who is again being linked with a move to Chelsea.

The Manchester United team that takes to the field in the first game of next season may just look completely different to the current one, which may be no bad thing either.


The phrase a team in transition is used a lot and United are not immune from transition. They may be a big club, but every club has a transitional period occasionally and this season United are in one.

United fans have been lucky enough to have had stability at their club for the last quarter of a century and change was always going to be a shock to the system. It may be awhile until United get back to being title challengers and United fans need to be patient.

Their current team’s cycle seems to have come to an end and other clubs look set to dominate the top-flight for a short period. The thing that is majorly important is that during this ‘transitional period’ that the foundations are laid for a quick recovery.

Bitter North West rivals Liverpool have spent over 20 years attempting to recover former-glories and they are still not really in a position to challenge for a league title. Manchester United cannot afford to let that happen.


Signing Juan Mata has to be the start of David Moyes rebuilding a better Manchester United team. It is no good United fans saying they want Moyes to be sacked, he is there for the long haul and all you can do is get behind him and the team.

Manchester United are struggling in the Premier League table and look like they face an almighty battle to even claim a Champions League spot this season. The Red Devils are now paying for years of lack of investment in the team.

For all those slagging off Mr Moyes, next season you will see whether the Scot can cut the mustard at Old Trafford or not. It is crucial for Moyes that he brings in real quality in the summer and builds his own team at United for next season.

If he does not then United will be in danger of going the same way of Liverpool and I am sure nobody connected with United would ever want that!

Which players need to be brought to Old Trafford in the summer?

Fri 24 Jan, 2014
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  1. will says:

    The illusion was 4-4-2/4-2-4.
    Not one among the other top clubs in Europe plays that gameset. How can they all be wrong?
    It is either 4-3-3; 4-5-1 or 3-5-2. Why? Because if you take on any top team with just 2 central midfielders, you start with a disadvantage; you are outnumbered where most of the game is played.
    Even Manchester City, who attack with a middle two, drop into a 5-spread as soon as they lose the ball.
    Only Sir Alex’s magicianship papered over these cracks in central midfield. But David Moyes cannot make an inefficient gameplan work. He was the master of 4-2-3-1 at Everton.
    You watch what happens to Sherwood’s naive Tottenham when they play a decent team!
    The issue is not the quality of the current squad but its incompatibility and inversatility. For example, here would Valencia or Rooney fit into a modern strategy without sacrificing their egos?
    Manchester United are still favourites for fourth place if they get the second half right, simply because of the erratic form of Spurs & Liverpool. Everton are still one or two short.
    David has to rid himself of 11 players and sign 9 before January 31st. Then the top 4 is same again please!
    Do not worry, it is easier to build a team from scratch than to assimilate a few new players into an existing XI; ask any national team manager.
    It can be done; it just takes courage. But has the conservative David Moyes got that courage?

  2. Brad says:

    I wouldn’t say that it was all down to the illusions Fergie put up. More of a combination of that and the fact he has indeed had world beating teams when he was in charge.

  3. David Nugent says:

    Yes Brad, but you could hardly say that last season’s team was a ‘world beating team’ could you?

  4. Murtala says:

    i want suggest that moyes is not the right man for the job. How can a good coach always subtitutes rvp when yonge is in the game, januzaj is on bench despite great potentials. See kagawa he doesn’t give him chance. Utd this season is better than l

  5. Ronby says:

    Hmmm mata plays with man united? Didnt see him at the olympiakos game…
    Nor at any game that i watched?
    Mabye it was just bad timing from my part?

    Or is mata going from chelsea bench warmer to united bench warmer?
    Not much change i guess… Well just one
    Chelsea is doing well and united aint

    Go go moyes!


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