You watch some games and you just feel its the end, the peak. Milan’s loss to Spurs in 2011, Real Madrid defeat to Arsenal in 2006 which all lead to a decline and it seems Man Utd loss to Swansea may be the end of a generation. It is just over 5 years since Man Utd were last champions of Europe, on a night of glory and vindication for Sir Alex Ferguson and his blooming young team in the driving rain of Moscow, however, such memories may already feel like ancient history for Man Utd and David Moyes. Now in 2014 they are in crisis with a severely ageing team with the likes of Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Giggs and Carrick, Van Persie all heading to their twilight of the careers. A moon away from the title and 4 places from the top 4 failure to qualify would be a disaster to the debt ridden club. With Liverpool and bull raging Suarez finding it impossible not to score, and Newcastle French spirit Champions League may be to far. With shares the New York stock market falling dramatically and investors not prepared to help pay off the debt, no UCL could lead to a downturn like AC Milan.
It’s clear to see that they need a creative midfield like Xabi Alonso, Andrea Pirlo, Montolivo who are all available in January which could lead to a upturn. Another areas are left back, centre forward and left winger all need to be looked at, but who would go to United if they are not in the Champions League. Looking beyond specific targets, there are wider concerns over whether the despised Glazers, having taken a more hands-on approach to club finances since the departure of chief executive David Gill, would sanction the kind of lavish spending required to fill the widening cracks and build a team boasting the “five or six world-class players” which they need over the next few years if they are going to be competing for the title.
Most importantly the fear factor has left Old Trafford. When you got to the Nou Camp, San Siro, Bernabau it’s intimating for the opposing team. United has lost it with Swansea, West Brom, Everton and Newcastle wining here, it points the question to the players. Not only are United losing, but they are doing it with turgid, backward, uninspiring football. Cleverly does not know how to play the ball forwards, Nani had the work rate of Berbertov and Januzaj is heading into the genes of Young and Drogba. After missing out on Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas in the summer, United were only able to sign an average player in Marouane Fellaini for an inflated £27.5 million fee. This mad buy could be the start of the end for Moyes, using a lot of their money on an un-united player could be the moment they look upon in future years.
Whatever happens this coming 2014 will be defining. Champions League qualification would be great and they can rebuild like Bayern Munich, but failure will lead to another AC Milan/ Inter.