Are Manchester United Strong Enough to Defend Title Without Summer Signings?

David MoyesDavid Moyes sure has a lot going on in his mind right now, and I bet he is even suffering from insomnia. Sir Alex personally called him and invited him to his house, only to inform him that he was the new Manchester United boss. From that day on, Moyes’ life has changed drastically.

Being Manchester United manager is a huge task, let alone succeeding a legendary figure such as Ferguson. Three years after breaking Liverpool’s record and becoming the most decorated team in EPL history with 20 titles, Manchester United will be facing a colossal battle to retain their title. Is David Moyes up to the task? Are the Red Devils well equipped to defend what supposedly belongs to them? After seeing their city rivals snatch up the league title from under their nose in the last game of the 2011-12 season, United will do their best to avoid the reoccurrence of such drama, but it’s not going to be an easy task. With Mourinho’s arrival and Pellegrini’s appointment, the Premier League is accumulating quality day after day. Arsenal are yet to dip in the transfer market, but their ever present manager has promised big signings before the transfer deadline day.

Tottenham have already strengthened their squad with three signing, and Villas-Boas is still eyeing several additions. Brendan Rogers seems to have settled well in his new surroundings, and he is looking to build a team that will be a title contender in a couple of years. So this year’s title race will be one of the toughest in recent history, and Moyes’ troops will have to perform week in week out to compete.

Having spent all summer fending away several attempts to lure Wayne Rooney, then tirelessly, but unsuccessfully, trying to sign Cesc Fabregas, Manchester United have only succeeded in adding one signing to their ranks. Guillermo Varela is a 20 year-old full-back who was purchased from Penarol to offer a much needed cover. He is not in any way the finished article but possess qualities that will aid him in trying to win a starting place in Moyes’ team.

Manchester UnitedOf the top four teams last season, Manchester United conceded the most with 43 goals, and of the top seven teams, only Tottenham conceded more goals; even Everton conceded less than United. With Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, and Nemanja Vidic either on the wrong side of their thirties or plagued with injuries, and Buttner, Rafael, and Fabio still nowhere near being quality defenders, the team surely needs heavy defensive reinforcements to plug several holes in a now tired defense. Leighton Baines and Ezequiel Garay are two of the names linked to United, but nothing concrete has occurred until now.

While there was no shortage in goals scored with a total of 86 last season, United’s midfield is not as reliable. Providing cover for defense and creating chances for forwards are not abundant qualities these days, and in an inflated market such as this year’s, the task of finding a suitable midfielder becomes almost impossible. With Anderson still unable to live up to the hype that surrounded his arrival, Darren Fletcher suffering from an ulcerative colitis, Ryan Giggs reaching 39, and Cleverly still incapable of leading, the Red Devils surely need a midfielder with phenomenal attributes if they are to compete with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.

In a physical league such as the Premier League, matches are often won in the midfield, and that certainly won’t escape the mind of David Moyes as he embarks on the journey of rejuvenating his squad in the remainder of the transfer window. It has been reported that Ed Woodward shifted his attention to Marouane Fellaini after failing to sign Fabregas. 1.94 cm tall, Fellaini has the strength to provide cover for the Manchester back four. As energetic as they come, the Belgian midfielder will undoubtedly provide his team with qualities that were missing as of late, and not only does he defend well, he also has the ability to contribute offensively.

Manchester United posses a strong squad that should be able to challenge in all competitions, but with the continual risk of injury, increasing number of veterans, managerial changes, and chronicle defensive deficiencies, they will have to fortify their base if they are to mingle with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, and their city counterparts. Maintaining is sometimes equivalent to declining, and standing still is not moving forward; this is exactly what Manchester United should avoid if they are to defend their title and build on last season’s success to get back to the top of European football.

Written by Hassan Chakroun