There is little room for debate that the team most will be expected of during this January transfer window are Manchester United. After a myriad of failings during the most important summer in the club's recent history, David Moyes has the unenviable task of striking a balance between his need to strengthen his side and navigating his way through the fickle winter window.
Having acknowledged the limitations that come with signing high profile players in January, what can Moyes do to ensure his side turn their season around? IBTimes UK have spoken to Dafydd Jones, a contributor for @ManUnitedWorld, one of the club's fastest growing fan pages on Twitter.
We get his take on what areas of the United side Moyes urgently needs to address and which players are realistic targets for the Premier League champions at this point in the season.
What areas of the side are in need the most strengthening?
Dafydd: There's no doubt Patrice Evra has been a loyal servant for Manchester United, a leader and a prominent figure in the dressing room. Nonetheless, I think it's about time the Frenchman was replaced; he's turned into a complete and utter liability. On numerous occasions this season he's been guilty of ball watching and not tracking back, it's simply not good enough.
United desperately need a midfielder. Sounds familiar doesn't it? Losing Michael Carrick to injury has clearly stagnated our season, we have lacked in conviction and boldness to get ourselves to work until the 90 minutes are up and it has cost us vital points. It needs to be addressed.
What players would you like to see brought in to fill those roles?
Dafydd: Deciding to go back for Real Madrid's Fabio Coentrao would be a brilliant move. Moyes must try his luck once more to snap up the Portuguese on a permanent deal. The 25-year-old could turn into arguably the best left-back in the world, and would be a great asset to the United squad, giving us a versatile player capable of playing in defence or across the midfield. He's technically gifted and defensively sound, a beautifully balanced footballer and a joy to watch. With hope, we will return for him in January.
Tom Cleverley can be painfully average, Fellaini is adjusting United's style of play, Ryan Giggs is 40-years-old, Anderson isn't match fit and Darren Fletcher is still somewhat recovering from a severe illness. When you look at it like that, it's extremely worrying; more the reason why we should be looking at acquiring a player of Yohan Cabaye's quality. The 27-year-old is of the same ilk as Michael Carrick, he's extremely confident on the ball and provides an assurance which is essential in any successful team. Orchestrating the midfield from a deeper role is a skill that few players possess. The Frenchman's ability to control the tempo and fluidity of the game is self-evident. Similarly to Carrick, he also does a lot of unseen work in the middle of the park. Cabaye is instrumental to Newcastle's defence, he anchors himself just in front of the centre backs, providing a solidity that we so dearly lack.
Any dead wood? Do the club need to offload anyone who isn't pulling his weight?
Dafydd: (On the subject of wingers) What can I say really? Inconsistency would probably be an understatement to describe Nani, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia. One day they're untouchable and the next they're utterly useless. If one was sold I don't think anyone would question it.
How important is the January transfer window to the club's ambitions for this season?
Dafydd: If you add the sum of the players I'd like to see signed in January together in Coentrao, Cabaye and Everton Ribeiro, you'd have to fork out roughly £45m; which is considerably cheap for three top quality players. Acquiring them would not only improve the quality of the squad, it would lift the morale within the club and more importantly, convince the fans that we have high aspirations to succeed this season.
Do you believe the manager will be backed in his hopes (if any) of adding to the squad?
Dafydd: Do I think Moyes will be given the sufficient funds to sign these players? Yes. Do I think he'll go out and sign them? No, unfortunately not. January is a difficult time for any club when it comes to transfers, clubs will always be reluctant to sell their best players halfway through the season. Moyes recently said: "I think most of the business will be more towards the summer rather than January." For once I'm hoping that I'm being lied to, because if the squad isn't strengthened we'll be confined to the Europa League, and that is no place for a club like Manchester United.
Are there any other issues away from the transfer window the club need to address in the New Year?
Dafydd: Luckily for Moyes this season, he has been given a lifeline in Adnan Januzaj. Praising the 18-year-old after every performance is the normality these days. There's no doubt that the Belgian-born youngster has already caught the imagination of every United fan with his exquisite talent. This season has not only showcased his abilities, but also the level of confidence and faith David Moyes has in him.
However, he has a dark side – diving. This season he's already been booked 4 times because of it, it's completely unnecessary and only overshadows his brilliance on the field. If he takes that out of his game, we'll have a near perfect winger.