Manchester United manager David Moyes has his work cut out for him in January, so here is a helping hand for him to get the ball rolling on transfers with five players who simply must be sold and five players who could replace them.
Here are five for who it is time up...
Manchester Unite already have Patrice Evra and Alexander Buttner at left-back which means Rafael’s twin bother Fabio is unlikely to get much first-team action and will likely be moved on soon enough.
However, vice-captain Evra is rumoured to be on his way out the door at Old Trafford and with Buttner still lacking enough top level experience, David Moyes would be well-advised to bring in either Leighton Baines once and for all or Southampton youngster Luke Shaw if Everton still won’t budge on their star fullback. Of course there is always Fabio Coentrao but I think both of the aforementioned Premier League players would suit the Red Devils more, especially in short-term of needing to improve their position steadfastly.
The Brazilian never really came close to fulfilling his potential at Old Trafford, even under Sir Alex Ferguson and it’s likely to be best for all involved if he is moved on in January. United desperately require a world-class creative midfielder to take the creative burden off the shoulders of Wayne Rooney and to represent a long-term replacement for the retired Paul Scholes.
After failing in pursuits of Cesc Fabregas and Ander Herrera this summer, Moyes could turn his attention to Koke of Athletico Madrid – the 21-year-old Spaniard would represent a decision for the future but if the present position of the reigning league champions is more of a concern, perhaps Wesley Sneijder could be the experienced and quality player to solve Moyes’ midfield problems.
Nani is another mysterious man of inconsistency over the years – capable of audacious displays and anonymous ones in equal measure, the Portuguese winger has not been the player Ferguson would have hope he’d become. He is heavily linked with a move in January and the inexperience of both Wilfried Zaha and Adnan Januzaj means, despite their obvious quality, an experienced top level signing will likely be required until they hit their maturity and peak in a few years time.
Borussia Dortmund youngster and German international Marco Reus would represent a drastic improvement on Nani and, at 24 year of age, would provide a ready, willing and able performer to come in and bring back the fear of the flanks that Ryan Giggs used to impose on the Premier League.
4) Ashley Young
I could copy and paste the above description of Nani to apply to Young who has not been quite the player he was supposed to be and, in fairness, seemed to be upon his arrival at Old Trafford.
A winger like Bayern Munich’s Xherdan Shaqiri would be an ideal replacement but it’s not necessarily a deal that the Bundesliga champions would favour as well as the player himself – I think Moyes would have a much better option in Real Sociedad’s Antione Griezmann, the 22-year-old Frenchman has netted 9 goals in 13 appearances in La Liga so far this term. Then again, there’s always Real Madrid’s Angel Di Maria to consider as well as Barcelona’s Pedro and Alexis Sanchez.
5) Federico Macheda
Finally, the Italian striker is yet another player to get lost under the radar at United and when his loan deal runs out in January, he really needs to be moved on for the better of the club and the player moving forward.
In to replace him, although not a like-for-like transfer, could be a player like Ross Barkley who David Moyes knows well from Goodison Park where he is hailed as the 'next Gazza'. United have plenty of quality options up front but, where they struggle, is in behind where they remain over-reliant on Rooney. A young and audacious talent with a very bright future, Barkley could be exactly the kind of player to fire the Red Devils forward.