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Saturday 16 December 2017

Moyes assured financial backing

David Moyes dithered in the transfer window
David Moyes dithered in the transfer window

Manchester United are ready to back David Moyes in the transfer market after acknowledging their squad needs strengthening.

United are due to fly to Donetsk for a Champions League encounter with Shakhtar that has taken on additional significance following Saturday's Barclays Premier League defeat by West Brom.

The loss was the club's third in six games this season.

It represents their worst start to a league campaign since 1989 and has seen them slide into the bottom half of the table and pushed out to fourth favourites to retain their crown, with the bookmakers believing United will be battling Tottenham for the final Champions League place.

This is not quite the transition envisaged in the summer, when Moyes walked into a club fresh from romping to a record 20th league championship by an impressive 11 points.

Yet the majority of Red Devils supporters accepted it was a rather flattering outcome, and the squad Moyes inherited from Sir Alex Ferguson had clear deficiencies.

These certainly go well beyond the scope of Marouane Fellaini, Moyes' only significant signing of a desperate transfer window.

Yet, despite the intense glare of scrutiny on United from the outside, inside the club there is a sense of calm.

Press Association Sport understands work is continuing to identify suitable targets and the Glazer family, having handed Moyes a six-year contract as Ferguson's successor, are determined to provide the Scot with the required financial muscle to strengthen his squad as he sees fit.

There is an acknowledgement at United that a difficult adjustment was not helped by the decision not to buy Moyes out of the final six weeks of his contract at Everton once it had been confirmed he would replace Ferguson.

The decision cost Moyes the chance to get to know some members of staff, including the scouting network, which meant he was effectively starting from scratch when he officially took charge on July 1.

It was for this reason previous targets such as Thiago Alcantara were suddenly dropped, with the ultimately doomed effort to prise Cesc Fabregas out of Barcelona taking shape instead.

All this cost time in what Moyes knew was going to be difficult period anyway, as he acknowledged in an interview with Press Association Sport at the end of July.

"Ideally, you would get your signings done early but for different reasons it has not been possible to get them done at this moment in time," he said.

"This club is always preparing for the future. We are looking at targets we hope to sign in a year's time, not necessarily just this year."

Yet, even though Moyes has been assured funds will be put at his disposal, fans hoping for an influx of players in January may be disappointed.

Although United have made significant signings during the mid-season window, Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic being the most obvious examples in 2006, it is a notoriously difficult time to do business.

Many top players are cup-tied from European competition and even though two of the most obvious options - for whom Moyes made offers last month, Leighton Baines and Ander Herrera - do not fall into that category, Everton and Athletic Bilbao may view them as essential in reaching targets that have been set for their respective clubs.

Evidently, though, after accepting Ferguson's recommendation of Moyes, United's view of the situation remains unshakeably the same - something former striker Michael Owen is in agreement with.

"It was always going to change quite dramatically," he told

"When someone has been there for over 25 years, whoever was going to take the job was going to have big question marks put against them.

"It was going to be a change for everybody within the club.

"Manchester United have appointed the right man in David Moyes. He has had a good career so far and has done fantastically well at Everton.

"In time he will prove to be a very good choice.

"They've had a bit of a slow start to the season, but they've had a difficult start to the season.

"I'm sure they'll get it right though and will still be one of the main challengers at the end of the season."

Press Association

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