With nearly half the season of the English Premier League completed, Manchester United currently hold top spot of the ladder, with archrivals and current EPL champions Manchester City nipping at the back of their heels. Chelsea look like the third favorites behind the Manchester clubs, but it all looks like a Manchester showdown for the title, reminiscent of last season.
With the upcoming January transfer window, here are five players who Manchester United could sign to help bolster their ranks and clinch the title for this season whilst improving the team for the future.
Yann M'Vila would be the first man United must sign if they are to win a title this season and some more in the future.
M'Vila would be a perfect addition to a United side that has no quality central defensive midfielders. M'Vila has been compared to great French midfielders such as Patrick Vieira and Claude Makélélé, due to his fantastic work rate and passing ability.
M'Vila's skills do not stop there. He can also operate as a box-to-box midfielder due to his ability to create attacks from his own half.
His tackling and physical prowess would also benefit United greatly, a squad who needs a defensive anchor in front of their two central defenders and behind the central midfielders.
Unlike many physical central defensive midfielders, M'Vila is known to be a very disciplined player who has only picked up one red card throughout his professional career, which spans over 130 games.
M'Vila would add a physical dimension to a United outfit and his offensive and defensive skill set as a central defensive midfielder would be greatly appreciated by Sir Alex Ferguson.
United's central defensive pairing this season has been shaky. Rio Ferdinand is not getting any younger and is injury prone. Nemanja Vidic has also battled injury problems.
The young core of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have only just returned from their injuries. Jonny Evans, when he has been given the central defender job, has looked out of place.
The right-back position has also been one of scrutiny. Rafael's inconsistency and his lack of concentration must have Sir Alex Ferguson to sign another young right-back.
Enter: Ricardo van Rhijn.
Already a Dutch international at the age of 21, Van Rhijn's aerial prowess and his physical attributes would shore up a United defense battling injuries and consistency this season.
Van Rhijn was spotted as a youngster playing the center defense position at his local football club. He was then subsequently signed to Dutch powerhouses Ajax, and had been Gregory van der Wiel's deputy at the right-back position, until van der Wiel's move to Paris St-Germain.
Since then, Van Rhijn has not taken a step back and has proven to be a rock at the right-back position for Ajax. He has also been primarily used as a right-back for the national team as well.
With Sir Alex Ferguson looking for another right-back in light of Rafael's inconsistent play, Van Rhijn could also be a great fit at the RB position. And if the center-backs have defensive issues or injuries to deal with, Van Rhijn could also be a adequate replacement at that spot.
Cristian Ansaldi (Left) with possession of the football.
The search for Patrice Evra's replacement could be in the Russian Premier League, where a Argentine footballer by the name of Crisitian Ansaldi is currently playing at.
Ansaldi, who joined Russian outfit Rubin Kazan back in 2008, has the speed and physical traits required to play in the English Premier League. His ability to make marauding runs from the left-back position has wowed fans in his club team.
Unlike South American left-backs such as Andre Santos of Arsenal, Ansaldi has the positional sense required to be a successful left-back in that he knows when to attack and when to defend. His tackling and defensive prowess at the RB position would make it hard for any opposing defenders to get by him.
Ansaldi, who has recently been capped for Argentina, can also play both left-back and right-back due to his ability to use both feet. He would be a valuable acquisition for the Red Devils.
Nani has been linked with a move out of Old Trafford in recent times. If United were somehow able to reel in Willian from Shaktar Donesk, Nani's move away from United wouldn't be all that devastating.
The diminutive winger from Brazil could provide the crucial link between the best strike partnership in Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, and the midfielders.
Willian, like many Brazilians before him who have played the game, has the speed and technical skills to succeed in the Premier League. His ability to play the central attacking role could also provide another outlet for United to channel their attack.
Willian doesn't have to score goals at Old Trafford because of the clinical finishes that van Persie, Rooney and Javier Hernandez provide for the Red Devils. Willian's main asset in his attacking repertoire is to provide assists to the forwards, and his ability to do just that makes him a transfer target for Sir Alex Ferguson.
Wesley Sneijder has been subject to transfer rumors since last year.
Sneijder would be a bargain price buy for Sir Alex if this "holdout" continues until January. Sneijder would be a perfect addition to United due to the injury scares Shinji Kagawa has had and the rawness of talented youngster Nick Powell.
Adding a player of Sneijder's caliber would increase United's chance of winning the title this season and help with providing squad depth.