David Moyes will have seen enough from the derby day shambles against Manchester City to realize that he has a rebuilding job on his hands, no more so than at the back where United were caught out on several occasions.
“Gather rosebuds while ye may, Old time is still flying And this same flower that smiles to-day, To-morrow will be dying.”
United`s partnership between Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic has been the rock from which they have launched many a title challenge and won. However, Moyes knows that their time is going fast and he needs world class replacements. Johnny Evans was outstanding in the last match, the Capital One Cup game against Liverpool and he will undoubtedly be in the forefront of David Moyes mind, but Chris Smalling has been disappointing. To be fair, he has been asked to play out of position in the right back role, but he was culpable for a number of mistakes and the goals against Manchester City. It is possible that he will not progress enough to justify a central defensive first team role.
Phil Jones is an enigma. He wants to be a central defender, and everyone is tipping him to be an England centre half, but he is also an excellent defensive midfielder. With that in mind, Moyes is looking at Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala. Mangala, a France international of Congolese descent, signed for Porto from Standard Liège two years ago and has established himself as one of the outstanding young centre-halves in Europe. A strong, physical player, renowned for his aerial ability, the 22-year-old was particularly influential in Porto's successful defence of the Primeira Liga last season.
Of course, United still know that they need another midfield player and moreover an attacking, creative box to box type and that player is Ander Herrera. Despite the rhetoric coming from his club Athletic Bilbao, he was keen on the move, so it is likely that they will renew their interest in January.
Finally, it looks like the aborted attempt to bring Fabio Coentrao to the club in the summer, which fell through in the dying minutes of the transfer window, will be pursued again in January. Moyes is not convinced by Evra`s performances and his understudy, Alexander Buttner, so he will resurrect the deal with Madrid, this time giving them ample opportunity to seek a replacement. Coentrau was reported to be happy that he did not move, but that it the usual Marca hype on behalf of Real Madrid.
United are still clinging on to their title by their fingernails, but reinforcements are needed quickly.