Manchester United boss David Moyes has brushed off speculation that he is on the brink of wrapping up a deal for Real Madrid left-back Fabio Coentrao. Having missed out on a loan move for the Portugal international in the summer, reports this week stated that terms had been agreed with the player. However, after Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti reaffirmed his position that there will be no movement either in or out of the Bernabeu in this month’s transfer window, Moyes has also denied the claims.

"No, that's not true," he said after Manchester United’s defeat to Sunderland in the first leg of their Capital Once Cup semifinal on Tuesday.

A new left-back is one of the main objectives for Moyes in what has become a vital transfer window for the under pressure manager. Yet his options are looking increasingly limited given Madrid’s stance on Coentrao, while Everton remain unwilling to sanction the departure of long-time target Leighton Baines. It would take a huge fee to secure another Moyes favorite, Luke Shaw from Southampton, and even then a deal would likely have to wait until the summer.

The fact that United left it too late to get a deal done for Coentrao in the summer was one of many bumbling pieces of business conducted by the club in the last transfer window. And details of another embarrassing incident have also emerged in recent days. Having failed with bids for several midfielders, Moyes admits he also held an interest in Roma’s Daniele de Rossi, although bizarrely claims to be unaware of whether a bid was made.

“We did certainly think about bringing him in the summer time,” he said, according to the Daily Mirror. “I don’t think it went as far as a bid.”

Roma coach Rudi Garcia has previously confirmed that an official approach was made, but that the lateness of it prevented a deal from being done. De Rossi was more expressive in his reaction to the non-transfer.

“It was a good thing that I didn't go to Manchester, now I would have committed suicide!" he told Corriere dello Sport earlier this month, although it was unclear if he was referring to Roma’s good first-half of the season or Manchester United’s terrible one.

The desire for a central midfielder has hardly diminished at Old Trafford since the summer. Once again linked with the Premier League champions this month is Juventus’s Claudio Marchisio. The Independent is the latest publication to build upon the persistent rumors, claiming that United have made a £20 million offer for the Italy international.

Regardless of whether United’s interest has gone that far, it is hard to imagine Marchisio arriving at Old Trafford in January. While his place in the Juventus team is no longer guaranteed with the arrival and emergence of former United youngster Paul Pogba, Juventus will be loathed to lose the 27-year-old in midseason.

With Manchester United needing an urgent injection of creativity, they are one of a number of clubs to have been linked with Roma playmaker Miralem Pjanic. Tottenham are thought to have pursued a deal in the summer, while Paris Saint-Germain have been credited with an interest of late. Roma have confirmed that there have been a number of approaches made for the Bosnian, but insisted that he will not be going anywhere.

"Pjanic is staying with Roma, we rejected offers from several teams,” sporting director Walter Sabatini said, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

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