Friendly matches don’t mean much, especially when most of your key players aren’t taking a part in them. Yes, it did give some the chance to enjoy the talents of Wilfried Zaha and Adnan Januzaj, but the main subject of the premier show in 2013-2014 for Manchester United was David Moyes.
There’s nothing to prove or disprove any of the theories regarding the Scottish manager yet, and there won’t be any conclusive results even after playing eight matches on their July-August tour, which ends with matches against AIK in Sweden and Sevilla for Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial a couple of days before a relatively easy Charity Shield match against Championship side Wigan.
But there are worrying signs for United, even if it is truly too soon to get push any of the minor panic buttons. One specific issue is the transfer market. Moyes has made some clever signings for Everton in the past, despite being quite limited in the money he has to spend, but it seems that on a bigger stage, he isn’t too sure of what he can do.
There are quite a few positions on the pitch United need improving at. Better wingers, central midfield and the defense, in more than one spot, are demanding some upgrading. For now, Wilfried Zaha, a borderline loanee for next season and Guillermo Varela is all that’s been added to the team, and Moyes didn’t have much to do with that either.
It’s always better to do your business at the start of the window. So far, no business has been done. Rumors and interests regarding players, but it seems that United are either not really connected to those players or simply losing every direct battle. The appeal isn’t what it used to be, which can be blamed on the replacing managers, but United have rarely been able to compete with the money offered for the biggest names in the market.
United don’t need a rebuild – only certain, accurate improvements. No one is talking about implementing a new and exciting style of football which Alex Ferguson has tried to do for two seasons and failed, but it’s mostly about keeping the ship running its usual league course – making a run for the league title, and hopefully ending up with it. No championship isn’t a disaster, but another season of disappointing Champions League exit while drifting a bit further apart from where United usually end up is going to put immense pressure on Moyes.
For now, results mean nothing. Slowly building an identity, a lineup and getting players up to speed while trying to hurry up their effort in the transfer market is what’s really important. Moyes won’t be judged by wins and losses against teams from South East Asia and Australia, but the pressure, unfortunately for him, begins that soon.