Moyes gets the green light from Glazers to spend big
David Moyes has been given free rein to dictate Manchester United's transfer business this month, with the Old Trafford hierarchy handing the manager sole charge of club funds in an attempt to avoid a disastrous failure to qualify for the Champions League.
Despite a dreadful run of form that has left United in seventh position in the Premier League -- five points adrift of Champions League qualification -- and endure a third-round exit in the FA Cup, United's owners, the Glazer family, remain fully supportive of Moyes and his decisions.
The Scot, who delivered a furious dressing down to his players following the FA Cup elimination at home against Swansea City on Sunday, admitted in the wake of United's 2-1 defeat that it was "doubtful" he would add to his squad during the transfer window due to the difficulties of securing the best players in January.
But with Moyes yet to overcome a reputation for indecision and caution in the transfer market, forged during a decade of managing with budgetary restrictions at Everton, there is a desire within Old Trafford for the manager to adjust to a new reality of genuine financial muscle at United and embrace it by asserting the club's heavyweight status.
Although the Glazers back Moyes' determination to target only top players with a long-term value to the club, the Americans have made it clear that no restrictions will be placed on his recruitment plans should he identify players he deems capable of improving his squad.
Moyes is keen to avoid the acquisition of players he does not consider to be top-class performers.
But with some at United referring to the Scot being handed a 'hospital pass' by Alex Ferguson with the squad he inherited, the former Everton manager has also been told that he will be backed should he feel the need to add experience and manpower to a squad currently ravaged by injuries and a loss of confidence.
Moyes is understood to have handed a list of priority targets to the executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward with the likes of Luke Shaw, Marco Reus, Eliaqium Mangala and Ilkay Gundogan all highlighted as players wanted by the manager, who regards the addition of players in their mid-20s as crucial in rectifying an imbalance in a squad loaded with players in their 30s and emerging youngsters.
There is an acceptance, shared by Moyes and Woodward, that most or all of those targets will prove hugely difficult to sign this month, with clubs reluctant to sell and some of the players keen to wait for the summer in order to assess United's state of health at the end of the season.
With Moyes and Woodward being criticised by supporters following the outcome of the summer window, in which £27.5m was spent on the under-performing Marouane Fellaini following failed attempts to sign Cesc Fabregas, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, senior figures at United are keen to work quietly this month in an attempt to conclude deals behind the scenes.
But after identifying key weaknesses in the squad when he succeeded Ferguson last summer, Moyes believes his concerns are now being realised with four defeats in six home games during the past month highlighting the problems in the team.
The 50-year-old's frustration with recent results and performances boiled over with the manager warning players that many of them were fighting for their future at the club following Sunday's defeat against Swansea.
At least 10 players are believed to face uncertainty beyond this summer, with Rio Ferdinand, Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez the most high-profile.
Ryan Giggs, at 40, is also expected to depart the scene at the end of the season and become a full-time member of Moyes' back-room team. The likes of Anderson, Fabio da Silva, Alexander Buttner, Federico Macheda and Bebe are also likely to be cleared off the wage bill.
The club have decided that there will be no new contract for the Brazilian full-back Fabio da Silva, but United captain Nemanja Vidic, another one of the four first-team players out of contract in the summer, will be offered a new deal.
Decisions on Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand will be left until much later in the summer. (© Daily Telegraph, London)