David Moyes at Real Sociedad: is there life after Man United?
Scot will hope to rebuild his reputation with a Spanish club that has been compared to Everton
Former Manchester United manager David Moyes has been named as the new head coach of Spanish La Liga side Real Sociedad six months after his Old Trafford reign came to an abrupt end.
The unveiling did not go entirely according to plan, with The Times reporting that Moyes was "surprised" by the Spanish club's announcement on Monday night because the details of his deal, including issues concerning backroom staff, were still being finalised.
However Socieded's statement revealed that the 51-year-old Scot has signed an 18-month contract at the Anoeta Stadium.
Moyes will become the fourth Briton to manage the Basque club, following in the footsteps of Harry Lowe, who was manager in the 1930s, and, more recently, John Toshack and Chris Coleman, who left the club in 2008.
It gives the Scot the chance to rebuild his "battered reputation... which was trashed during a turbulent 11-month reign at Old Trafford", says the Daily Telegraph.
After 11 successful seasons at Everton, Moyes succeeded Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford in the summer of 2013 but endured a nightmare start at Old Trafford and was sacked in April as his side slipped out of contention for silverware and Champions League qualification.
"After such a turbulent, bruising time at Old Trafford, he appears to have decided to look abroad to re-establish himself, rather like [former England manager] Steve McClaren," says the Times. "A championship will be out of the question in a league that includes Real Madrid and Barcelona, but Moyes will hope to overcome limited Spanish and financial constraints to guide Sociedad into European contention."
So how will he fare in Spain? "In many ways, Moyes should feel comfortable in his new environment because there are some striking similarities between Real Sociedad and Everton," writes Spanish football expert Andy West of the BBC. "The general perception of Real Sociedad within Spain is of a well-run, stable and solid mid-table club, strong enough to ensure they rarely find themselves ensconced in relegation battles but lacking the necessary funds to regularly compete seriously for major honours."
Sociedad have sold their best players in recent seasons, for example Antoine Griezmann who left for Atletico Madrid, but there are players including ex-Arsenal star Carlos Vela at his disposal.
However, the club are 15th in La Liga and only three points off the bottom of the table, so Moyes has his work cut out, particularly as he is not known to be a Spanish speaker.
"With a struggling team lacking in confidence, difficulties in establishing clear lines of communication could prove fatal," warns West. "Moyes urgently needs to instil tactical discipline and develop a sense of identity, allowing the team to feel confident and assertive in their approach rather than their recent state of confusion."