David Moyes began his first official day as manager of Manchester United by arriving at the club’s Carrington training ground at 8:00am and appointing Steve Round, Chris Woods and Jimmy Lumsden to his coaching staff.
Moyes arrived at the Chevrolet-sponsored training ground driving, not surprisingly, a Chevrolet, marking the beginning of a new era at United and putting a definitive end to the 26 year tenure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The former Everton manager’s first bit of business on the day was confirming the appointments of his backroom staff, all of whom follow him from Goodison Park. Round replaces Mike Phelan as United’s assistant manager, Woods takes over as goalkeeping coach for Eric Steele, and Lumsden replaces Rene Meulensteen as first-team coach.
Speaking of the hirings, Moyes noted his work with the three and his delight at their decision to join him at United. “They bring great qualities in their respective fields and I know that, like me, they feel that this is a challenge to relish,” Moyes said. “I have great faith that together, we can build upon the success this club has enjoyed over many years.”
With the easy work put aside, Moyes now faces some legitimately difficult decisions, beginning with the Wayne Rooney conundrum.
Whether the 27 year old will stay at Old Trafford depends on his appetite for United and Moyes’ appetite to deal with a potential cancerous situation. Rooney is not known to be of primadonna ilk but he has shown a desire – most notably during the fall 2010 rumors that Rooney wanted to be transfered to Manchester City – to have his head patted.
How much head patting Moyes will do remains to be seen.
The so-called ‘crunch talks’ are slated to begin this week and with Robin van Persie’s domination as the outright striker and Shinji Kagawa, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck all available for deployment in and around Rooney’s space on the pitch, it could be time to send the Wazza on his way.
The decision to keep Rooney will have a significant effect on whether Moyes makes a marque signing in the summer transfer window. It is entirely possible that he keeps the player and brings in a whale, although the later increases exponentially if Rooney departs.
A significant summer capture could provide Moyes with career defining moment. The departure of Ferguson makes Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential revival at United drastically less likely although a younger, less narcissistic, winger by the name of Gareth Bale is by no means out of Moyes’ reach.
A more realistic signing could be that of Leighton Baines, who Moyes brought to prominency at Goodison Park after sniping him from Wigan in 2007. The projected £20 million ($30.5m) it would cost Moyes to bring Baines to Old Trafford, however, could prove too much for a club that already boasts the likes of Patrice Evra.
The United midfield is another issue that Moyes will need to attend to. Easily United’s weakest quality, the retirement of Paul Scholes, Anderson’s failure to develop and the long-standing illness of Darren Fletcher means that the most pressing need is for a midfielder to compliment Michael Carrick.
Thiago Alcantara would be add creativity and skill while a player like Marouane Fellaini could provide Carrick with a marauding counterpart who will score goals while releasing pressure for the English pass-master.
A final issue that Moyes will need to work on is maintaining (and building) the familial environment that Ferguson worked so tirelessly to create at United. It is that environment that defines United, separates them from City and puts fear into the heart of opponents when the match is on a knife’s edge and injury time rolls around.