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Don't worry, Manchester United fans: Nightmare could only last one season

The Premier League champions are set to buy around eight new players in one remarkable transfer window flurry to halt their steep decline.

MASSIVE SUMMER SPLURGE COULD ARREST DECLINE

A generation of Manchester United fans who had known little other than high achievement now know what it feels like to have disappointment followed by calamity followed by hope followed by disappointment again.

Scattered among the dark times are the occasional luminous ones that offer the possibility of an optimistic future. It is a cycle that fans of pretty much all teams must get used to at some point, effectively fandom's version of a rite of passage. Yet logic would suggest the 2013-14 nightmare for the loyalists of English soccer's biggest and most glamorous club will be an isolated one. Perhaps even a single season only.

The reason? Money. Loads of the stuff, in fact.

OUT THE DOOR?
Man Utd's potential summer exits

Nemanja Vidic
Deal agreed to join Inter

Patrice Evra
Contract expiring this summer

Rio Ferdinand
Contract expiring this summer

Ryan Giggs
Contract expiring this summer

Darren Fletcher
Contract expiring in 2015

Javier Hernandez
Contract expiring in 2016
Nani
Contract expiring in 2018
Anders Lindegaard
Contract expiring in 2016
Alex Buttner
Contract expiring in 2017
Barely a day goes by without talk emanating from Old Trafford's corridors of power about the transfer funds available to the manager (let us assume at this stage it will be David Moyes) this summer. The precise figure varies from 100 million pounds to 200 million pounds. Most credible sources agree on somewhere in between.

United powerbrokers are also keen to emphasize that the money can, and will, be spent in one record-breaking flurry in the forthcoming transfer window that might even exceed the most lavish outlays of Manchester City and Chelsea in the last decade.

Exciting stuff for fans of a team that has had such a demoralizing season it is difficult to agree on a precise rock-bottom moment. There have been so many.

United prepares for its Champions League quarterfinal with Bayern Munich on Tuesday as an underdog. Expectation is almost non-existent.

It is a strange and novel experience for a club that is used to operating on equal terms with Europe's A-listers. Yet it is likely to be the last stand of the team that Sir Alex Ferguson built.

A summer of upheaval may sweep away the old guard, with fond farewells to be bid to the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Patrice Evra, Darren Fletcher and Inter-bound Nemanja Vidic, while offers will be entertained for the likes of Javier Hernandez, Nani, Anders Lindegaard and Alex Buttner.

The gates of United's Carrington headquarters could be swinging off their hinges. Well-placed sources suggest more than half a team, even up to eight new players, will burst through the entrance door.

United's top brass fully intends to address the obvious squad weaknesses at center back, left back and central midfield. The wide and central attacking positions are also being targeted by Moyes and his recruitment allies. Pace, youth and proven caliber are at the top of the agenda.

Money does not guarantee success. But it sure helps.

Comparisons with Tottenham, which spent the Gareth Bale money so badly last summer in its own splurge, are not entirely instructive.

United's salary bill is nearly double that of the Londoners, and the club can offer the type of wages that would send Daniel Levy into meltdown. As a money-making machine, the Premier League champions can court the very top bracket of player, while Spurs were always operating in the second tier.

Moyes will also be able to spend the transfer fees he receives on any outgoing players. The net spend will be considerable. This is lip-smackingly enticing not only for well-connected agents and middlemen but also for all United followers. Should the cash be well spent and the recruitment sound, the team's decline should bottom out fairly quickly.

The spell without Champions League soccer, barring an end-of-season miracle in the coming weeks, should only be a temporary one.

There is the promise of better times ahead. And that, ultimately, is what all fans wish for.

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