Before David Moyes was finally dispensed with on Tuesday, it was widely expected that Manchester United’s squad would get a massive overhaul this summer. With Moyes’s relationship with a number of senior, and by the end junior, players widely believed to have broken down, if he was to stay then many of the players were going to have to go.
Many of those now thought to have been halfway out the Old Trafford door may now have very different ideas about their futures. Much, though, will depend on the identity of the man who United choose to replace Moyes.
Here are six players whose plans for next season may now be very different.
Robin van Persie
While both parties were at pains to deny it, Van Persie’s demeanor on the pitch suggested he was less than enamored to be working under Moyes. Having joined Manchester United to work with Sir Alex Ferguson and win trophies, it would be understandable were the striker bemused that just a year later Ferguson was gone and he was further away from challenging for major honors than during his time at Arsenal. With Moyes making Wayne Rooney the fulcrum of the team, there was plenty of speculation that Van Persie could be off in the summer. A new coach will surely want to make the 31-year-old a key part of the team. And if current favorite for the job Louis van Gaal takes over, a man who made Van Persie captain of the Netherlands, his future will surely be at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future.
The fate of Kagawa encapsulates much of what was wrong with United under Moyes. The side’s best performances came when Moyes was almost compelled to play the Japanese playmaker either in the hole behind Rooney or in tandem with Juan Mata behind a striker. Yet Moyes never appeared to either trust Kagawa or be sure of how best to use him. With former club Borussia Dortmund thought to be preparing a bid, Kagawa would surely have been off had Moyes stayed. Now Kagawa will doubtless want to see the thoughts of a new manager, who may well finally realize and harness his ability at Old Trafford. Of course, if that manager is his former boss Jurgen Klopp, which currently looks unlikely, then Kagawa will certainly play a key role.
The United legend will lead the side on an interim basis for the remaining four games of the season. His future beyond that, either as a coach or a player, is far from certain, however there is a far greater chance of him remaining at United now that Moyes has gone. As with Van Persie, both Giggs and Moyes denied there was a problem between the two, but those in the know suggested otherwise. Giggs was rarely used by Moyes on the pitch, while the Welshman is believed to have been given a very limited role as a coach. Van Gaal is a man who believes on keeping at least one member of the coaching staff on board, while the club’s hierarchy will surely want to keep such a recognizable figure.
Moyes’s very public courting of Leighton Baines last summer hardly suggested that he was enamored with United’s current left-back. Evra’s contract is up at the end of the season and, with United thought to now be chasing Southampton’s Luke Shaw, there appeared little prospect of the France international staying. But a new manager may well be keen to maintain such an influential, experienced figure even if a younger left-back is sought.
The same could be true for Ferdinand. The 35-year-old’s deal is also up in the summer and, given his subtle criticisms of Moyes in the media, he was certain to be heading into either retirement or to pastures new. There is far from any guarantee that a new manager will want to keep Ferdinand, however. The former England and Untied captain has often struggled in his limited appearances this campaign and, despite his experience, it may well be decided that it’s time to build around a younger central defense.
Perhaps most damaging for Moyes was not his relationship supposedly breaking down with the veteran players who would not be around for long anyway, but that it was reported the weekend before his dismissal that one of the club’s young players also wanted out due to the current boss. Welbeck’s training habits were publicly criticized by Moyes earlier in the season, something with which the England forward made it known he did not agree. While he can be wasteful in front of goal, his enthusiasm and intelligent positioning is something that a new coach will likely want to keep on board.