Moyes poised for defensive shake-up


Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailWith the January transfer window approaching its halfway point, the rumour mill is in full swing and, rather predictably, United have been caught right in the thick of it, with David Moyes’ necessity to begin a long overdue clearout at Old Trafford second only to his desperate needs for reinforcements.

While things are predictably and expectedly quiet on the arrival front, the exit door at Old Trafford could see many faces walking through it between the next two weeks and, more importantly, in June.

While some of the players expected to leave Old Trafford have been stealing a living at the club for years – yes, that’s Anderson we’re talking about – other have been fantastic servants to the club but, with age and fitness issues slowly catching up with them, it’d probably best for all the parties involved if they departed the club sooner rather than later.

Patrice Evra is arguably the player closer to leave United, with the French left-back widely reported to be heading home to France at the end of the season when his contract expires at the end of the season.

While Evra’s commitment to the club and attacking prowess remain unquestioned and unquestionable, the 33-year-old Frenchman has become a defensive liability and last David Moyes personally informed him that he intended to bring in competition for the left-back position – possibly in the shape of Leighton Baines or Luke Shaw – given that Alexander Buttner’s defensive limits have been brutally exposed this season.

With Evra open to consider his options, Nemanja Vidic could follow suit, after his agent last week said that “At the moment, I would rule out an extension with Manchester United.”

Vida has attracted interest from Napoli, Juventus and Barcelona, while Rio Ferdinand, the man who partnered Vidic in the middle of United’s defence for so long, looks to be heading away from the club at the end of the season, after losing his spot in the starting XI and with offers likely to arrive on his table sooner rather than later.

David Moyes in Italy yesterday, watching Cagliari vs Juventus.

David Moyes in Italy yesterday, watching Cagliari vs Juventus.

With three defenders poised to leave, David Moyes is not only in the market for a left-back, but also for a central defender which could explain why the United manager was spotted in Cagliari yesterday, as the home side took on Juventus in Serie A.

Cagliari’s Davide Astori has been impressive in the last two seasons and his performances have earned him a place in the Italy side, but the more optimistic of Reds must have hoped Moyes traveled to Sardinia yesterday to keep an eye on one of Juventus’ midfielders.

With Paul Pogba linked with a possible return to Old Trafford and Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio also on the pitch, Moyes must have been reminded how much of a luxury it is to be able to field such quality midfielders and while neither Pogba nor Vidal are expected to be leaving Italy anytime soon given that they’ve both penned new deals with Juventus, Marchisio could be a slightly easier target for United.

Phil Neville, meanwhile, traveled to Spain to keep an eye on Rayo Vallecano’s midfielder Saul – a star of Spain U21 – and on his teammate Alex Galvez, a defender who’s also attracted interest from Borussia Dortmund.



  1. Both Shaw and Baines would cost £20M which seems extortionate. Evra is almost certain to leave at the end of the season so I would just play him with Buttner as back up, possibly considering a loan deal for Coentrao and cast a wider net in the summer for a left back.

    However as Vidic and Rio are likely to be leaving in the summer a centre back should be a priority and if we can get a good one in January it would give us a bit more steel in defence. In that particular position I’d prefer we buy someone in their mid to late twenties because in defending there is no substitute for experience and that is something Smalling and Jones lack.

    But I get the feeling Moyes likes to dither and won’t sign a player unless he has seem him play dozens of times or the player’s reputation precedes him. So I think we will have to wait till the summer.

    • @colver:
      Our defenders are absolutely top class. If we keep thinking like “bring an experienced one, cause this one we ‘ve got is not good for starting”, then we are going to end with another Pique case or a Pogba case. Of course, Pogba case applies to midfield where we have no good youngsters or mid-20s players. Midfield and a top left back are top priorities.
      Let’s not forget that Rio arrived here when he was 22,5 years old and he started game after game. In Evans, Jones and Smalling we ‘ve got 3 players for the future, who we can trust and then be calm and happy. Smalling is a top defender, especially at this age, he is not a right back and we shouldn’t make the mistake to sell him. When he was constantly playing at the centre of defense, in his first season, he was more than good.

    • @colver:
      So, if this team needs a new defender, then we should offload both Rio and Vidic. Cause where are Jones and Evans and Smalling going to play? Don’t let me know that Jones should be our DM and Smalling a backup to Rafael or Evans. That’s just a terrible idea.

  2. United are supposedly in talks with Garay… didn’t Moyes turn down chance to sign the 27-year old this past summer?

    If we bid 40 million for Pogba, I can swallow my pride if he comes. That kid is worth backtracking for. 😀

    With Evra, Vidic, and Rio leaving, it will feel weird next season. But it is necessary. Then get rid of Cleverley and Anderson and Young.

    The story about United having 150 million pounds to spend on the next 2 windows makes more sense now… but let’s see the money first.

  3. With Ferdinand,Vidic & Evra in the 30’s,an update in our defensive line is inevitable @ some point.We need 2 full-backs,to cover both sides of our defensive areas.I think our centre-backs will suffice,but if we lose both Rio & Iron Man,we might have to bring in one more player.I’m not ashamed to say that I favor British players for United over foreigners.Having said that I would like to see either Steven Caulker or Ryan Shawcross in the backline.They are both begging to be snapped up by big clubs.Yes,they are rough around the edges but the have the potential to be good,solid defenders.Besides,20 Million @ the most for either of them.On the issue of full-backs,Baines isn’t an option for me whilst Shaw seems destined to go everywhere but United,so I won’t be picky as to who comes in,if anyone does.I still think Fabio & Buttner have something to offer United.But hey,this is just my opinion.

  4. We are potentially losing both Rio and Vidic in the summer. Evans has limited further room for improvement and will never be world class and always looks more comfortable playing alongside a better more experienced defender as he is not at the level where he can cover other defender’s mistakes and command a defence.

    Jones has played very few games in central defence since joining and only played around 25 games for Blackburn before that.

    Smalling only played 10 Premier League games before joining us and while he has been given more games at centre back he is also very short on experience and at times it shows.

    This is absolutely Ferguson’s fault as under his reign it would have been easier to blood them as centre backs. Also signing two young defenders with so little experience in successive years when we knew Rio and Vidic has little time left was foolhardy.

    Under Moyes we are so fragile that it is difficult to recover from defensive mistakes that are inevitable with players as green as Jones and Smalling and we need to replace the experience we are losing when Rio and Vidic move on.

    For me the ideal situation is that we sign an experienced defender who is top class so that Smalling or Jones can play alongside that guy and learn the trade from him and if necessary the experienced guy can cover their mistakes. Let Smalling and Jones fight it out for the second centre back spot and have Evans there to provide cover and a bit of extra experience in the big games and in Europe.

    • @colver: I think Evans is a pretty decent CB with lots of experience.

      The following players should stay with replacement coming in.

      Smalling, Evans, Jones, + someone else [either young from academy or expensive continental]
      Fabio, Uruguayan youngster, Buttner, + some Luke Shaw-ish or experienced but cheap
      Rafael + some youngster to provide competition

      Fletcher, Carrick, Fellaini, Kagawa + 1 expensive midfielder to upgrade quality basket
      Nani, Valencia, Januzaj + 1 youngish winger to compete and excel long-term

      Welbeck, Chicharito, Rooney, RvP [only buy to replace, like for like]

      That is at least 5 decent players that must come in (3 defense + 2 midfield), which requires at least 100m. I think Moyes will be given that at least over the next two windows… there is no other solution.

      Can someone provide some details on how United’s youngsters are doing on loan+academy. Is Anyone ready to step up and fill our needs?

  5. Did anyone else feel pride watching Ronaldo win the Bd’Or today? And what a class act bringing his son up to the stage. I felt bad for Ribery, but was happy to see our original Portugeezer win it again. What weights must come off his shoulders finally overcoming Messi-mania…

    • @Opti: Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest player I have ever seen. I will tell my grandchildren that I lived in the age of Ronaldo and Iniesta.

      To be honest the award was becoming a bit of a joke, I told my friends they should call it the Annual Messi Appreciation Award. Don’t get me wrong I thought he was well worth the win for 2009 and 2012 but overlooking the likes of Sneijder (in 2010), Xavi and Iniesta was a disgrace in my opinion. So to rightly award it to Ronaldo this year has restored the POTY’s credibility.

      • @Moscow: I don’t know why Messi deserved it then (over Xavi or Iniest who won everything you can win in this planet, or over Sneijder who did better than Messi in terms of silverware) and I don’t know why Ronaldo deserved the Balon D’Or this year.

        To me, it’s just commercials for adidas, nike etc.

  6. Put simply Ronaldo is the best player ever to grace Old Trafford. And the scary thing is that he keeps getting better. He is a great example to younger players that even with all the talent in the world you need to put in the hard work and look after your body to reach the top.

    I’d be happy with an experienced continental defender to make up for the departure of Rio and Vidic. And in all honesty it shouldn’t be a difficult signing. Already the media has linked us with players like Garay, Davide Astori, Ranocchia, Dede, Zapata and so on. I’m sure we could get one of them.

    A relatively modest priced midfielder such as Guarin or Marchisio might also be a useful stop gap.

    In the summer I’d sell Fellaini, Cleverley, Nani, Anderson and Hernandez (if Rooney stays) to raise some funds and release Vidic, Evra and Rio to lighten up our wage bill and then bring in a Paul Scholes replacement, a winger offering a bit more imagination than Valencia, and a left back to replace Patrice Evra.

    While the expression is you don’t break up a winning team in this case we have nothing to lose (except money) from bringing in four or five players over the next few transfer windows. So long as the quality is there it won’t be too disruptive.

    • @colver: Your owners sold him for a huge amount of money, and then put it all in their back pocket. Don’t you remember that??

    • @colver: What I have never been able to understand is ,in which world is Valencia a first choice ahead of Nani. I struggle to get it,but this is the United way I guess. Graft over craft. So I agree,Nani has to go too. I’d also add Kagawa to this list. He is not as versatile as AJ and since we seem stuck on a winger based system,Kagawa is a waste of space. Di Maria or Townsend should be what we should be looking at. As for defenders, I just don’t see the major urgency there. The thing we desperately need is a playmaker in central midfield. An Ever Banega type or a skilled runner like Guarin or technical wizard like Pjanic or Hernanes. Coentrao though could be useful due to his midfield versatility.

      • @Jay Wire: Completely agree with you on the Nani Valencia issue. Only in a club like United will Valencia be first choice over Nani. Valencia makes our attacking play very rigid and hence predictable. He also is a very poor crosser of the ball. People talk about his defensive work rate but what I see is a player who commits silly fouls whenever he goes to challenge for the ball.
        My take is Valencia should play only when Nani is unavailable.

  7. According to various reports, Anderson is off to Fiorentina. Too bad Cleverley doesn’t join him as I preferred chubby Anderson to chicken Cleverley.

    • @Opti: TBH who would touch Cleverly with the proverbial barge pole. He has no forward vision and one of the many players we have that prefers to make the safe pass – rather than the one that challenges their own skill level. There is no confidence and there is no belief – it’s because Championship players are realizing that their aspiration are a little over run.
      When you loose that many home games, the anticipation for the future has a gutting effect. Only the best, who have dealt with it before, could be expected to ramp up their game and make a go of the rest of our season.
      I put it to Rooney and Carrick and RVP to carry this team to the top 4. Lets see if they can!!

  8. @Moscow

    While I don’t want to start a non-United debate,I think Messi has been full value for his four awards. The exact same reasons why people were demanding that Messi should not win this time are the exact same reasons Sneijder did not win in 2010. Injury. That season in the first half he was quite average but picked it up in the second half. Messi has always been consistently brilliant. That’s the difference. When Iniesta could have won it Messi was breaking records every week. People keep saying things like,Messi is nothing without Iniesta and Xavi. Well if true then the same goes for the two midfielders. Statistically speaking according to UEFA, Messi,Iniesta and Dani Alves were three of the best five creators in Europe two seasons ago when I last checked. Iniesta and Xavi create for Messi,Messi creates for them too. Ronaldo has been the closest to Messi,consistently over the last six years or so and was full value for both his awards

  9. Am I the only person thinking that Evans has been disappointing for too long. I’m always holding my breath when he’s the last man and going forward, I’m happy when he completes a pass. I just don’t think he should be immune from exit discussion.

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