The talk around Carrington is that the Welshman could be in charge before the end of the season if under-pressure Moyes fails to inspire an improvement in his side’s poor form
When it comes to David Moyes’ future, nowhere is the speculation more intense than inside Manchester United’s own training centre.
At Carrington, the whispers have become louder and louder, to the extent that there is a fear – or rather belief – that Moyes may not even see out the season.
Sources close to Ryan Giggs have furiously denied suggestions that the United legend has fallen out with the manager, but there are some within the club who expect the 40-year-old club legend to be in charge before the end of the campaign.
Whether Giggs is to inherit the manager’s job or not, the fact is that the Welshman has become an increasingly peripheral figure under Moyes, often left out of the matchday squad entirely as a player and rarely seen offering advice to the Scot in his capacity as a coach.
In the wake of Sunday’s humiliating 3-0 defeat to bitter rivals Liverpool, Moyes is under more pressure than ever as he prepares his side for Wednesday’s Champions League second leg clash against Olympiakos.
United go into the game 2-0 down after the first leg and with their season on the line.
Moyes was in relatively defiant mood in his pre-match press conference, insisting that his job is safe and promising supporters that the most successful club in the country will “rise again” despite their disastrous campaign.
But while the Scot has come out fighting, the disharmony at all levels of the club has never been more apparent.
At Carrington on Tuesday, observers noted the obvious factions that have developed, with the senior players often distancing themselves from younger members of the first team in and around the training complex.
Sources have told Goal that some of those senior players have even been openly questioning Moyes to staff at the training ground and almost boasting that his departure is a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.
That view is shared by some of the coaching staff, too, who have grown increasingly disenfranchised and feel ignored by Moyes, in stark contrast to the inclusive style of Sir Alex Ferguson who always made time to listen to their feedback.
Moyes was awarded a six-year contract last summer after being handpicked by Ferguson, but even the now-retired master of Old Trafford must fear that his legacy is going up in flames under the former Everton boss.
Ferguson has intentionally stayed away from the team and left Moyes to his own devices, particularly in recent weeks, but there is now a sense that he may become more involved in the coming days and months.
On Saturday evening, Ferguson was seen in an Alderley Edge hotel with former chief executive David Gill as well as Paul Scholes and ran the rule over the state of affairs at Old Trafford.
With United seventh in the Premier League table and 18 points behind leaders Chelsea, last year’s champions are staring at the prospect of failing to qualify for even the Europa League next season.
Despite the grim outlook, Moyes argued on Tuesday that he has the support of the club’s owners, the Glazer family.
“The biggest assurance is that they let me get on with the job,” he said.
“We make big plans for years going forward, that’s why they gave me a six-year contract. This club is not a club that works on short-term vision. It works on a long-term vision.”
Yet even Moyes must know that he is under enormous pressure and has reached the stage where he has to deliver results. A Champions League exit followed by a humbling defeat in next week’s Manchester derby could be the final straw even for those supporters who have backed him from the Stretford End.
The Glazers will be deeply concerned by the shocking level of performances this season – United have lost nine league games – and the fact that they have shown no signs of improvement.
But what could ultimately spell the end for Moyes is that players – including some who have won countless titles with the club – are already losing faith in his training methods, tactics and man-management.
Giggs, of course, is part of the coaching staff, close with Ferguson and remains ever popular with the squad.
While the club stalwart would probably accept himself that he may not be ready for a full-time role, he may have to step in until the end of the season if the situation does not improve quickly.