After Manchester United’s sixth defeat of the Premier League season against Tottenham on Sunday brought to an end the recent false dawn of six successive victories, the need for David Moyes to add to his toiling squad is as clear as ever.
While Moyes has repeatedly said that the summer transfer window is better suited to making significant signings, there is little doubt that he will be working overdrive to bring players in this month. As it was in the summer, it is widely thought that his first port of call will be his former club Everton.
United failed with two bids for Leighton Baines before eventually securing his former teammate Marouane Fellaini, and reports suggest that Moyes will again move for the England international in January. Yet, there appears little prospect of Everton now being willing to acquiesce to the Premier League champions’ offers, which reached £15 million in the summer. And with Baines now aged 29, it is difficult to envisage United upping their bid.
Moyes could also be disappointed should reports that he is looking to sign Ross Barkley prove accurate. The 20-year-old creative midfielder has emerged as one of the finest young talents in England as he has flourished with the greater responsibility handed him by Moyes’s replacement at Everton, Roberto Martinez. There have even been claims in recent days that United were prepared to offer £50 million to prize Barkley away from Goodison Park.
Martinez has again asserted this week, though, that he is confident that neither Barkley nor Baines world be going anywhere this month.
"Yes. Absolutely. There is not even a doubt,” he said, according to Sky Sports.
"I have said it many times that in football you can't fight the trend of the game but what you can dictate is the timing and everything you do should be for the good of the club.
"We have done it (resist bids) before. "That is based on football decisions and I can guarantee that will be the case in January 100 per cent.
"[Barkley] has a long-term contract. The first half of the season has been a real joy to see him grow and the second half of the season will be even better. There is nothing to comment on.”
While the capture of Baines appears unlikely, a new left-back is increasingly in need at Old Trafford. Patrice Evra was caught out time and again against Tottenham as he has been throughout the season and, with the France international out of contract at the end of the season, his replacement is reportedly being eagerly sought.
The first-choice to replace Evra in the long term could now be Southampton’s Luke Shaw. The 18-year-old has excelled for Southampton since being thrust into the team last season and The Telegraph claims that Moyes is weighing up a £20 million move.
Southampton are expected to resist all offers for the England Under-21 international but the interest of Chelsea, the club which Shaw supports, is thought set to spur United into action regardless.
Meanwhile, speculation has again been renewed that Manchester United will try to solve their midfield problems by signing Juventus Arturo Vidal. With the Chile international having recently signed a new contract there is little to no chance of this transfer happening in January. Indeed, the rumor trail shows that there is nothing new whatsoever in the story.
The Daily Mirror splashed a big headline claiming that United were willing to “break the bank” for Vidal, yet their story is sourced from French publication Le 10 Sport, which published bold claims based on a story in Corriere dello Sport. Completing the link, the Italian sports daily’s story was merely based on The Telegraph’s naming of Vidal as one of the 50 leading targets in the transfer window.