Manchester United Transfer News: Ashley Cole Is Very Good Short-Term Option

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2013

Chelsea LB Ashley Cole
Chelsea LB Ashley ColeClive Mason/Getty Images

Sir Alex Ferguson could solve Manchester United's issue at left-back by signing Ashley Cole.

Earlier in the week, Neil Custis of The Sun reported that Ferguson was looking to move for Cole when his contract expires at the end of the season. The English left-back would be free to sign with any club.

The Red Devils would likely get some competition from Paris Saint-Germain.

The Guardian, among others, reported during the fall how PSG posted, then retracted. on its official Twitter account the fact that Cole would be arriving during the summer.

Ferguson could receive a boost in the form of the French club  targeting Patrice Evra instead. John Drayton of the Daily Mail reported back in December that Carlo Ancelotti might prefer Evra to Cole.

The French left-back has been at Old Trafford since 2006, and while he's looked world class at times, Evra has been struggling this season.

He's been one of Manchester United's worst players. His four goals in the Premier League have been great, but they've come at the cost of his tracking back.

Evra has no problem getting forward.

The problem is that, at 31 years old, he doesn't look capable of recovering from making his attacking runs. Time and again he's left United exposed at the back by failing to track back.

That's not to say that Cole isn't on the decline, either. Often referred to as the one England international who could make any team's starting XI, Cole no longer looks like that player.

However, he still has more than enough in the tank to give the Red Devils an upgrade over Evra in the short term.

The Red Devils don't need a player in his mid-20s to come and provide a stable left-back for years.

Fabio will be returning at the end of the season from his loan with Queens Park Rangers, and the club already has Alexander Buttner as well.

Both players have looked shaky at times, but that's expected with full-backs in their early 20s. They'll both improve the more they're on the pitch.

Trying to find that balance between attacking and defending can take years for a full-back. Cole could be a great temporary option until either of those two are ready to play in the first team on a full-time basis.

In addition, with the overall quality of the team, United doesn't need to pursue a world-class player for an exorbitant amount.

The Red Devils were seven points ahead at the top of the Premier League table with Evra struggling as much as he has been.

That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement, which is what Cole would bring.