As Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement at the consummation of last season, a new chapter in Manchester United's illustrious history was written. Old Trafford chiefs, along with Ferguson, had chosen David Moyes as his succesor, hence the banner "The Chosen One" which has become a regular sight at United's world-renown home. A transitional period was broadly anticipated as twenty-six years of glory and triumph for the most part cannot be immediately resumed with a distinct face at the helm, but the fashion it has proceeded in has ruffled many feathers.
The Red Devils lie in seventh place in the Premier League, nine points adrift of the coveted Champions League positions, and out of both domestic cups as Moyes's maiden campaign in Manchester turns to becoming somewhat beyond the point of salvation.
On the basis that the manager boasts an inferior CV, with qualifying for the Champions League qualification play-offs in 2005 his greatest accomplishment, in comparison to those held by his players, it hardly comes as a surprise that his players are not performing for him. A considerable amount of the criticism directed at Moyes has been borne out of the fact that the exact players who accommodate the dressing room are those who secured Premier League triumph by eleven points last season. It has lead some to believe that it is not United's deficiency of quality which has seen them toil in seventh position this campaign, and that the lack of imposing authority demonstrated by David Moyes, a stark contrast to Ferguson's propensity to utilize the so-called "hair-dryer treatment" when his side were under-performing.
The 2-1 defeat to Stoke in early February serves a prototype of the accusation, as the Scot's men were trailing a goal down and pushing for the equaliser. Any irritation or ire at the disheartening display was non-existent as United's able eleven were shorn of motivation as a consequence.
Despite his continued presence at home and away games this season, Moyes is attempting to emerge from Ferguson's shadow and construct a team he can call his own. With defender Nemanja Vidic announcing he will not be renewing his contract, the likelihood of "senior" members of Ferguson's era, such as Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand, departing Old Trafford this summer has augmented. Evra, who was extensively sought by former employers Monaco in the summer, is said to be keen on a move after becoming unsettled the club's attempts to sign Leighton Baines from Everton last summer. And with age and form getting to Ferdinand, a walk towards to exit door is looking even more so feasible.
Out with the old and in with the new. It is a phrase which adequately sums up the potential scenario awaiting Ed Woodward and co come the completion of the campaign. With imperative members of Ferguson's time poised for a summer exit, the arrival of new faces is inevitable as the summer window presents the Old Trafford outfit with a convenient period in which to reinforce substantial areas of the squad. The signing of Juan Mata for a record £37m fee from Chelsea is a promising start, but the Spaniard falls short of curing United's most prominent illnesses, which lie largely in midfield.
The Manchester club's midfield has been somewhat the root of their struggles this season. While it is true Moyes inherited a poor midfield department upon arrival, his lack of expenditure in reinforcing his side's core in the summer is a decision which has been proved detrimental throughout the course of the season so far. The fact that no United midfield man would get into the starting teams of either Manchester City, Arsenal or Chelsea emphasizes Moyes's midfield woes. In order to mount a challenge to the trio, and top-four rivals Liverpool, an extensive revamp is required. Tom Cleverley, who is shorn of an assist this season, does not meet the standards demanded for a club of Manchester United's stature while Michael Carrick has been exceedingly inconsistent for a player of his profiled adeptness. It does not bode well, forming a frail core which has been exploited time and time again this season. Without an extensive surgery throughout the squad, I don't see United supporters reliving the success they had been so accustomed to under Ferguson's stewardship.