As Manchester United plunge even deeper into a crisis as each goes by, David Moyes must be wondering why he decided to take on the job at Old Trafford, instead of politely declining Sir Alex Ferguson’s offer last year.
United have been utterly abject in the first half of the season and their squad is in desperate need of reinforcements, which Moyes has already admitted are hard to secure during January.
Whether United have money available or not remains to be seen, but if the Glazers are serious about backing the former Everton manager then United must sign at least a player over the next 24 days or they could face a doomsday scenario in the remaining four months of the campaign.
United’s deficiencies in midfield have been criminally overlooked for years and David Moyes has repeatedly admitted that’s the area he intends to address first, but with the likes of Koke and Ander Herrera reportedly out of reach, who could United turn to?
1) Yohan Cabaye
The French midfielder looked to be heading for St James’ Park’s exit door in the summer, but after Alan Pardew’s refusal to let him go, Cabaye has enjoyed a fantastic first half of the season and has been pivotal to Newcastle’s impressive run.
An excellent passer of the ball, the 27-year-old knows where the net is too and has already netted five times this season and would represent a huge improvement on Moyes’ current options, particularly given his versatility.
However, with Newcastle only a point behind United, the Reds will have to pay way more than the £17m price tag if they are to lure the Frenchman to Old Trafford.
2) Nemanja Matic
The former Chelsea player has long been linked with a return to the Premier League, with United and his former club reportedly interest in bringing the midfielder back on British shores.
The Serbian would be an excellent signing for David Moyes, given that Matic can play either in front of the back four or in more central position and has the physical presence United have sorely lacked for many years now.
The 25-year-old, however, is cup-tied, having played for Benfica in the Champions League this season and with the Eagles top of the table alongside Porto and Sporting Lisbon, his club are unlikely to let him go in January.
Furthermore, Matic’s physique makes him quite similar to Marouane Fellaini it remains to be seen whether Moyes would be happy to shell out £25m for a player quite similar to the Belgian.
3) Remy Cabella
The French midfielder has been impressive for Montpellier this season, scoring six goals and assisting five in 18 Ligue 1 games this season and has drawn the attention of a couple of Premier League clubs.
United are among those clubs and have monitored the 23-year-old who has earned comparisons to Mesut Ozil for a while, but could be reluctant to fork out money on the diminutive playmaker for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, Cabella is normally deployed further up the pitch than a traditional central midfielder and could therefore not be the player United need, not to mention that, while promising, he isn’t the sort of proven performer Moyes desperately needs.
4) Fredy Guarin
In recent weeks, the Inter Milan midfielder has emerged as a surprise target for United and Chelsea, with David Moyes reportedly impressed by the Colombian’s versatility.
Guarin, a central midfielder by trade, can indeed be deployed further up the pitch or deeper as defensive midfielder and possesses a good range of passing, coupled with an instinct for scoring goals – he has three in 18 Serie A games so far this season.
Inter Milan have repeatedly denied that they intend to sell the 27-year-old, but a £18m could proved to be too tempting for the Italian outfit, although, were Chelsea to make the first move, will David Moyes be willing to enter a bidding tussle with Jose Mourinho?
5) Wesley Sneijder
The one that just won’t go away.
The Dutchman has been linked with a move to Old Trafford virtually every time a transfer window opened over the last four years and, predictably, his name has resurfaced yet again this month.
Sneijder’s decision to swap Serie A for Galatasaray left many puzzled, but the former Inter Milan player has been instrumental in leading the Istanbul giants to the knockout stages of the Champions League and has developed a great partnership with Didier Drogba.
Like Matic, Sneijder is cup-tied and while his £8.5m valuation is relatively cheap, will United opt to splash cash on a 29-year-old player that they should have signed years ago?
Not to mention that Galatasaray manager Roberto Mancini is unlikely to do his old rivals any favours.