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Why David Moyes should look far… and wide this summer!

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David MoyesWhile much has been made of Manchester United’s need for a tough-tackling midfielder at the heart of the engine room – and that is a valid point – it is the flanks where the Red Devils require an overhaul.

If new boss David Moyes intends to honour the champions’ tradition of overwhelming opponents with pace and power out wide, he will do well to look for at least one new winger.

It’s not that United are short of numbers in this area – Antonio Valencia, Nani, Ashley Young and now Wilfried Zaha offer plenty of choice, along with the seemingly immortal Ryan Giggs, should he be shifted from the centre.

But take a closer look at Moyes’ options. Any Stretford End regular will tell you that Valencia faded at an alarming rate last term, which came as a major surprise after the Ecuadorian had finished the previous campaign in tantalising fashion.

Those same United supporters, along with plenty of neutrals, will tell you that Nani is one of the most frustrating figures in European football. Never short of ability, he can shift from the sublime to the ridiculous in the same attack.

Patience is running thin and, at 26, it is no longer an excuse to talk about his potential. It is no surprise to see him heavily linked with a move away from the club.

Young is a fine player on his day, with a wicked delivery and an eye for goal. But his injury record has so far disrupted what could still be a successful stint in the North-West.

Zaha is the wildcard out wide. His direct, almost fearless approach will appeal to the masses and it is down to him – and Moyes – to ensure his Crystal Palace form is replicated at the highest level. It might take time.

Giggs is much more familiar with the middle of the pitch these days. The inevitable lack of pace which accompanies a man pushing 40 can leave the full-back behind him horribly exposed, so his time on the flank only tends to come around when United are chasing a game and in need of his still-superb crosses.

Moyes pinpointed the full-back positions as priorities when he succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson and snapped up 20-year-old Uruguayan Guillermo Varela before stepping up his chase of Everton’s Leighton Baines.

But a wide man and that elusive midfield scrapper should surely feature on the wish list too – although young Roy Keanes don’t grow on trees. If they did, Fergie would have swooped years ago.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid) and Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona) would all tick the winger box, while Sven Bender of Borussia Dortmund or even a cheeky move for former City man Nigel de Jong, now at AC Milan, would bulk up an engine room made of up pass-masters Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Giggs and, possibly, Barcelona’s Thiago Alcantara.

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3 comments

  • Tom says:

    I actually believe Moyes might want to move towards a more wingless formation. It would put more emphasis on the full backs to attack and provide width. I believe this is a big reason he wants to get Leighton Baines, because he is the best attacking full back in the country. I think he created more goal scoring chances than any other player in Europe. On the right we have Rafeal who has always shown his attacking qualities, but last season improved defensively.

    This would allow Moyes to focus on structuring a formation that gets the best out of Thiago, Kagawa and Rooney. I think a 4-3-2-1 formation would be the best suited for Man Utd. I agree we need a robust/scrapper midfielder who can play as well. I would offer £20 million for Luiz Gustavo, who is not a regular for Bayern Munich because of Javi Martinez, but is a top defensive midfielder. I would put him alongside Thiago and Carrick, who are both very good deep lying midfielder’s with terrific range of passing. We can then have Kagawa and Rooney floating in a more flexible role behind Van Persie.

    ……………………..De Gea…………………

    Rafeal……Ferdinand……Evans……Baines

    …………Thiago…..Carrick….Gustavo…….

    ………………Rooney……Kagawa…………..

    ……………………Van Persie……………….

  • Mack says:

    Nigel de Jong? Really? One of the most limited and disgusting footballers to have ever played the game. Whilst United may need more steel in the middle, they do not need thuggery. Besides, I think the creative side of the midfield should be addressed firstly – Alcantara as a Scholes replacement is a great idea. Out wide needs sorted too, as you pointed out, perhaps with someone like Gaitan coming in?

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