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United struggling after transitional summer

TEAMtalk guest Rich Kitto feels that David Moyes' transfer market delays for Manchester United could spell a troubled season for the champions.

Last Updated: 21/08/13 at 09:14 Post Comment

David Moyes: Needs to act quicker in the transfer market

David Moyes: Needs to act quicker in the transfer market

Guillermo Varela Olivera (born 24 March 1993) is a Uruguayan footballer who plays as a full-back for Manchester United. That's how Wikipedia summarises David Moyes' only current excursion into the transfer market this summer at his new club, and the dull construction of the sentence mirrors a fairly uninspiring atmosphere drifting throughout Old Trafford at the moment.

Off the back of arguably the biggest single recruitment in the club's history - as the baton changed hands between two Scots in the managerial seat - the hope and expectation from supporters was that Moyes would hurtle out of the block in order to sustain momentum and retain a lead over their close rivals. But much like a GB men's relay team, the handover has been sticky, enabling Messrs Mourinho and Pellegrini to have already made ground.

Privately, Moyes and Ed Woodward, the new chief executive at Old Trafford, must be thanking their adversaries down in Arsenal, as the current chaos surrounding the comings and goings at The Emirates has done a great job of keeping United's own internal wranglings under the radar.

Public bids for Cesc Fabregas of Barcelona, and Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines both of Everton, have been dealt with short thrift by the men in charge of their respective clubs and has left the Red Devils' board members with even redder faces.

Such a public revealing of targets, whilst not always down to United's own admission, is unusual proceedings at the club which historically did things behind closed doors under the control of Sir Alex Ferguson. You wonder what the great man himself makes of all this, as back in May after his team secured the Premier League, he suggested that time had already been spent in order to ensure the team were competitive this summer: "We've been doing a bit of work on that over the last three or four months, targeting who the players are that we feel could enhance us, make us better or help us maintain the level we're at."

Although it seems at the time that Ferguson had identified Robert Lewandowski, Borussia Dortmund's superb Polish striker, as a key target who we now know will recommit for a further season, the feeling recently around camp is that Fabregas was the player very much recognised by the new men at the helm to take the club forward.

Whilst Edward Woodward would probably have attracted attention in any walk of life with a name such as his, his contribution, or rather lack of it, is another blow for those fans still pining for the good old days. It was well known that David Gill and Sir Alex Ferguson were extremely close over their 16 year reign, and that United's former chief executive did an unheralded job behind the scenes to ensure that Fergie had everything he required at his disposal, particularly in prising Robin Van Persie from the clutches of their cross city rivals.

Of course, such a relationship between Moyes and Woodward will require time to develop, and will certainly be one that the Scotsman will be keen to develop considering his bond with Bill Kenwright at Everton. It is a huge task and so important to the future running of the club that United get this right - just ask the Arsenal fans wishing for David Dein to return in a mask and cape to come and save the day.

So where now for the club that has spent £88 million less than the team that finished one place behind them in the league last season? Roberto Martinez stated yesterday that the combined £28 million bid for Fellaini and Baines was 'a waste of time' following comments from Everton describing it as 'derisory and insulting'. But if anybody is aware of the value of these players then surely it is the man that brought them to the club, as media reports suggest they are now readying a £35 million bid in order to face the wrath of the Toffees faithful.

With only 13 days left until the window 'slams shut', things are looking rather desperate for the Red Devils. As is the case with Arsenal, surely the question is why leave it this late? We're aware that United bid for Baines a few weeks ago only for it to be rejected, whilst they also reportedly let a buy-out clause for Fellaini go by as they felt it didn't offer value for money. Seems like time wasted.

It doesn't take a pundit with the skill of a Neville or Carragher to appreciate where the team's weaknesses are. After his performance on Monday night, and the rave reviews he's had through pre-season, surely Fernandinho, Manchester City's new Brazilian battler, would have been a perfect fit? Where United don't even have one combative box to box midfielder, City have two.

If, as suspected, Alex Buttner leaves Old Trafford on loan then surely the ambition is to sign Baines, but whether Moyes is prepared to pay over the top like he made so many other managers in his time remains to be seen.

Whilst there is also no denying the quality of Fellaini - and the manner in which he bossed the United midfield and back line at Goodison Park last season offers great reasoning as to why he is needed - perhaps Moyes should look at the player garnering comparisons to the previous ginger haired Evertonian to join United, the young Ross Barkley. Fast, powerful, strong, and with a good shot, he could be exactly the sort of player with some grit, determination and quality to excite and rejuvenate at Old Trafford.

Of course all this goes on whilst Chelsea apparently ready a third bid for Wayne Rooney, the seemingly sad scouser. There are many that consider the Blues to be a stronger candidate for the title based purely on the second coming of the Special One, so surely all hope would be lost if United sold one of their best players to an arch rival? Seemingly so.

Moyes commented last Thursday that his team's opening fixtures meant "it's the hardest start Manchester United have had for twenty years". Amongst all the uncertainly currently surrounding the club, that's the one thing he can be certain of.

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