With Sunderland officially relegated from the Premiership, David Moyes decision to either stay or leave will be the most important of his career.
It was only four years ago that David Moyes was seemingly at the top of the world, the then Everton manager had been selected to replace Sir Alex Ferguson as the manager of Manchester United. To be given the role of succeeding Sir Alex was the biggest and the most difficult job in all of football, Sir Alex had transformed Manchester United from a club that hadn’t won the league in twenty-seven years and had been known as a cup team in the shadow of their arch rivals Liverpool into the most dominating team in all of England and had just won their twentieth league title and had won the league that season with relative ease, largely in thanks to the performances of new signing Robin Van Persie from Arsenal.
The signing of Van Persie had by and large papered over the cracks at United as the team was ageing with Paul Scholes retiring and their defensive backline in Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic all on the wrong side of thirty along with Rooney and Van Persie approaching thirty years old as well.
The team may have been dominating but it needed fresh blood and a serious rebuild was required, an area in which Moyes excelled at during his team as Everton manager where he constantly rebuild his team when his star players were poached from different teams while keeping Everton as a competitive club that was capable of challenging for top six positions.
This is what was expected of Moyes and he did not achieve in his first summer at United. Granted, a lot of what happened during his first transfer window was not his fault with Ed Woodward taking over as the clubs CEO with the club chasing unrealistic transfer targets such as Gareth Bale but it began increasingly obvious that David Moyes was in over his head at the club with him failing to gain the respect of the players at the club and a distinct lack of style or plan at the club where his negative tactics saw the club not qualify for the Champions League and finished seventh in the league.
Moyes naively believed that the six-year contract he had been given was going to see him plan for the long-term regardless of results but this was obviously not the case and Moyes was sacked from the club before the season even finished.
After another failed spell as manager in Spain at Real Sociedad, Moyes took on the role as manager of Sunderland. Sunderland has been a mess of a club for a great number of years after the Martin O’Neill years with an ageing squad but one that defensively was solid under Sam Allardyce which seemed to disappear under Moyes.
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The minimum requirement for Moyes was to keep Sunderland up and look to rebuild the team like United but it appears that Moyes wanted to bring in players who had played for him at his previous clubs with him bringing in Donald Love, Patrick McNair and Adnan Januzaj on loan from Manchester United and the likes of Darren Gibson and Joleon Lescott from Everton. Sunderland were relegated without putting up any kind of fight that the club had been known for doing over the years and were relegated without even a whimper.
Moyes next move will be the biggest one of his career – he can stay at Sunderland and look to actually rebuild the team in the Championship or move on to look for another club to manage. Neither decision will be much desirable for Moyes as Sunderland will not only have an ageing squad heading into the Championship but one that will be hard to move on as they have players on high wages who are frankly not good enough while Jordan Pickford will surely have clubs in the Premiership interested in him along with Jermain Defoe which will both be huge losses for Sunderland.
The Championship is a highly competitive team with several clubs vying for promotion so Sunderland will need to spend wisely in the summer or risk not getting promoted back up the league which would be a failure for Moyes, as their squad simply isn’t good enough as it is right now to bounce back up like their rivals Newcastle have along with the club not being as well-run as Newcastle have been this season with Mike Ashley giving Rafa Benitez full control of the club.
Failure to see Sunderland promoted will take an even further hit to Moyes reputation which is sinking further by the day with a fan base that is turning against him already however leaving Sunderland at the end of the season won’t do much for Moyes either. It is hard to imagine that any Premiership club will be looking to take him on. Whether move Moyes makes next, whether he stays or he leaves, his next move will be the most important one of his career.