EPL: Players Moyes should court with his 'unlimited budget'

Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand smiles during a news conference before a team practice session ahead of Saturday's football friendly against Thailand's Singha All Stars

UNITED KINGDOM - David Moyes says that he has been given a green light to spend, spend, spend and that's excellent news for Manchester United supporters.

While Sir Alex Ferguson's capture of a 20th league title is an obvious indicator that there is nothing seriously wrong with the team, it's been clear for some time that there is room for improvement in the ranks.

First of all, Moyes will have to free up a little room.

Uefa's Financial Fair Play restrictions mean an end to expensive stockpiles of international footballers.

For every new player in, someone will have to leave.

Moyes reiterated his desire to keep Wayne Rooney on Sunday, but comments from new chief executive Edward Woodward suggested that the club are hardly bending over backwards to tie him down.

Amid continued speculation, Woodward made it clear that no contractual negotiations were planned for the summer. Rooney's hamstring injury may deter potential suitors, but a growing section of United supporters, disenchanted with his fluctuating form and second apparent transfer request, would happily see him leave.

Moyes may also wish to consider the future of Portuguese winger Luis Nani and Brazilian midfielder Anderson. Both men have been at the club for six years, both have shown flashes of potential, but neither could be considered world class.

Removing them, as well as Rooney, would free up nearly £500,000 per week in wages as well as bringing in approximately £60 million ($114.4m) of spending money.

There are three key areas that Moyes will want to strengthen this summer and with an unlimited budget, there are obvious candidates for the vacancies.

At left back, vice-captain Patrice Evra is now 32 and has shown signs of slow deterioration. Behind him, neither Alexander Buttner nor Fabio have done enough to convince that they are the natural heirs to the role.

Moyes should make a bid for Leighton Baines that reflects the value of England's form fullback. An earlier bid of £10m was insufficient, even taking into account the fact that Baines is 28 and has little resale value.

Everton are reportedly holding out for £18m, and that's a price worth paying for at least four seasons of tireless running and set-piece excellence.

On the wing, there has been much discussion about a possible return of Cristiano Ronaldo, but the Portuguese superstar brings his own baggage.


A wonderful footballer, with only one equal on earth, he is susceptible to mood swings, easily upset and, according to his last manager Jose Mourinho, he is unwilling to listen to advice in training.

A wiser move for a manager still establishing himself at this level would be Gareth Bale.

Almost five years younger and with much less of an ego, the Welshman is at the peak of his powers. A reputed £70m transfer fee is still an enormous sum of money, but if he can replicate his form for Tottenham at Old Trafford, he might just be worth it. He would certainly be a clear improvement on Nani and Ashley Young.

The final position to fill is in the middle, where United have been short of an imposing physical force for many years.

Anderson was supposed to be that man, but his career has stalled. Moyes needs the kind of player who can break up play and then start an attacking move with intelligence and guile.

A move for Javi Martinez seemed sensible, but the Spaniard was allowed to sign for Bayern Munich instead. Perhaps Daniele De Rossi, linked heavily with a move to Chelsea, could be lured north instead.

The 29-year-old Italian was left out of Roma's summer training camp in Riscone and is valued at approximately £11m.

His absence from the roster shouldn't be taken too seriously, given his exertions at the Confederations Cup in Brazil with Italy, but there's no doubt that Roma would be happy to see him off the wage bill. At £200,000 per week, De Rossi's services don't come cheap.

But if United want this difficult season to go well, they should swallow the cost and sanction the signing.

Moyes has said that he wants the best, he has said that he's been promised the best.

Now it's time to see the proof.