United boss David Moyes will need to conduct a full scale overhaul of his defence at the end of the season, with centre backs Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic as well as left back Patrice Evra all seemingly set for the Old Trafford exit door.
Whilst a plethora of names have been linked with filling the voids left by Ferdinand and Vidic, one name that keeps being brought up in relation to replacing Evra is Portugal international Coentrao.
The former Benfica man is currently playing second fiddle to Marcelo at the Bernabeu, and seemed close to signing for Manchester United in the summer and winter transfer windows, thought the deals were never completed, leaving Coentrao in the wilderness in the Spanish capital.
But press in Spain revealed today that Coentrao will be allowed to leave Madrid for around €25m this summer, €5m less than what Madrid paid for him in 2011. That works out to about £20m, and with a reported £200m transfer kitty at Moyes' disposal this summer, they could certainly afford the 25-year-old – but should they fork out so much money for him?
Coentrao offers outstanding athleticism and attacking prowess down the left, having started out his career as a left winger before making the move into defence, and would certainly provide an attacking boost down that flank for United should they sign him.
But with occasionally suspect positioning, Coentrao can be incredibly susceptible defensively, which is a product of him being a former winger. Over the last couple of seasons, Evra has been wearing down and now looks a shadow of the player he once was, and with United needing an injection of pace, quality and attacking prowess from the left back position, Moyes should certainly be more willing to spend £20m on Coentrao than another target, Leighton Baines.
Real Madrid have been repeatedly linked with a move for Sevilla's Alberto Moreno, who has also been a reported target for United, and bringing in another left back would surely signal the end of the road for Coentrao, and it appears that Old Trafford could be his most likely destination.
image: © Addesolen