Fabio Coentrao

Manchester United have been reportedly handed a boost in their pursuit of signing Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao in January.

The Mirror has reported the nine-time European champions are looking to offload the Portuguese full-back for a transfer fee of £12m in the ongoing transfer window. Coentrao has started in only four league games this season under Carlo Ancelotti, with injuries keeping him out of action in the final few months of the last year.

The former Benfica man was set to join the Old Trafford club in the summer on a season-long loan deal, only for the deal to collapse in the final hours of the transfer window. However, Coentrao had earlier expressed his delight for not making a move to join the Premier League champions.

The report says the 25-year-old defender does not fit into the former Chelsea manager's plan at the Spanish capital. The Italian boss has informed Coentrao that he could make a move away from Santiago Bernabeu in January to improve his chances of making it to the national squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The Spanish newspaper Marca earlier reported that Coentrao has returned to training after the New Year and despite that, Ancelotti is looking to let the player leave in January.

United have Patrice Evra as the first choice left-back in the squad. The Frenchman has less than six months left in his contract and David Moyes is keen to bring in a replacement for the 32-year-old in the ongoing transfer window.

The 50-year-old Scot was keen on signing Everton star Leighton Baines in the summer. However, the deal did not take shape as the Toffees were keen on retaining the England international.

The report claims that Coentrao's agent Jorge Mendes has already approached United for a potential transfer of his client to England in the mid-season transfer window. A move for Madrid defender would be a great addition to the squad in January and could be a long-term replacement for Evra.

Coentrao has not featured in the Champions League with Madrid this season. Should he make a switch to Old Trafford in January, he will be eligible to feature in the European competition as United have progressed to the Round of 16 of the competition.