A Blueprint for David Moyes' Success at Manchester United Next Season
David Moyes will not be sacked by Manchester United this season. That's the reality, and it's based on the fact that the club's owners trust Sir Alex Ferguson and hired Moyes under the pretence that he might find things difficult in his first season.
They gave Moyes a six-year contract, so he's come to Old Trafford with a long-term vision for which the Glazers have clearly signed up.
He's not going anywhere this summer. That said, in order to avoid a potential exit in early December before the January 2015 transfer window, Moyes must make some major changes.
Here is my blueprint for his success at Old Trafford next season.
Build Around His Proven Core
There are players United can afford to let go this summer and those who must stay.
Mata needs at least a full season to bed in. As for Fellaini, I think he needs to prove his value by January, or else United should look to cut their losses and sell him on. Assuming he starts to perform, he can be a key player for United.
Consider Bids for the Players He Can Do Without
Moyes should entertain bids for the following players this summer: Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Antonio Valencia, Nani, Rafael, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Young.
Neither Carrick nor Cleverley has convinced in central midfield. The same is true of Young, Nani and Valencia on the flanks, while United can improve upon Rafael in the right-back position—a key role in the modern game.
As for Ferdinand, he's too big a personality to stay around on current form. I'd suggest offering him a free transfer, because having him in the dressing room can't be helping Moyes take control of things.
Get Busy in the Transfer Market
It's obvious United to buy in the summer. I think Moyes needs to strengthen the spine of his team with two new central defenders, two holding midfielders and a back-up striker. He also needs two new full-backs.
The defenders should be young, proven talents, and United should not baulk at paying a combined £40 million to get them. It's about bringing in a partnership with the potential to succeed Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. If you pay over the odds, it's worth it.
The two holding midfielders are perhaps the most vital, especially if Fellaini fails to find his rhythm. United have been weak in that area, and if they don't improve they can forget about mounting a title challenge next season. I'd be looking to the likes of Toni Kroos and Yohan Cabaye, who would both bring purpose and real energy to that area.
As for a striker, I think United need a bright young player who's just below world-class—a hungry individual who's ready to step in when needed and provide cover for the likes of van Persie, Rooney and Welbeck.
I would put some of United's poor form this season down to the change in coaching staff Moyes implemented at the start of his reign.
You just wonder if the players are looking at Moyes' assistant manager Steve Round and asking themselves, "What's this guy done, exactly?"
Sir Alex Ferguson did a great job of continually refreshing his staff. He brought in coaches with pedigree and ordained them, so they came with the Fergie glean.
If I was Moyes, I'd be looking at successful young coaches in Europe to see if any might fit within the United set-up.
Play the Manchester United Way
Moyes doesn't need to do anything revolutionary with his tactics. At Old Trafford, his team should be set up in a 4-4-2, or with Rooney just off van Persie, and with an emphasis on pace and width.
That's why bringing in two young full-backs is so vital this summer. Moyes needs that dimension to his team.
A good preseason is of course vital to everything, and much of that is in the planning. But if he follows my blueprint, I think Moyes can achieve success at United next season.
If he doesn't and his team are lingering in sixth or seventh come early December, I think United may well decide to sack him before the January window arrives.