Seven years ago, Manchester United were struggling for a foothold in the Premier League and were on their way out of the Champions League group stage, where they ended up finishing bottom of their bracket.
To address the club’s problems, then-manager Sir Alex Ferguson defied his "no value in the January transfer market" mantra by acquiring Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic, both of whom would go on to be integral parts of five league titles and one European Cup success.
With the Red Devils currently seventh in the table after 12 games, new boss David Moyes would no doubt like to make several similarly impactful signings just over a month from now.
Over the next few slides, we’ll have a look at the players he is thought to be considering.
This rundown will be updated throughout the week, so check back to keep up to speed with what United may be planning for January.
—LAST UPDATE: Saturday, November 30—
Steve Round and Jimmy Lumsden apparently watched the 24-year-old in action against Napoli on Tuesday, where he scored once and assisted another in a 3-1 win in the Champions League.
Reus has a €35 million release clause in his contract, but his nine goals in all competitions so far this season is more than United’s midfielders have scored between them.
Asked whether he would be adding to his squad in January, the Scot told the Manchester Evening News he would consider only those players who could fit into his squad.
And about Baines he added, “If [Everton] are determined to hold onto him he can’t be going anywhere.”
Baines, 28, was a transfer target of United’s during the summer.
Angel Di Maria may suffer a loss in playing time at Real Madrid when Cristiano Ronaldo returns from injury and joins Gareth Bale in the attack, and Manchester United are reported to monitoring the Argentine’s situation with an eye to a January swoop.
Ben Burrows of the Mirror has suggested the 25-year-old could agitate for a move away from the Bernabeu in January, with his value pegged at an estimated £17 million.
Di Maria has scored just once in La Liga this season and has assisted twice.
One of the many reasons for Atletico Madrid’s early success this season has been the performance of Koke, who also broke into the Spanish national team earlier this year.
Manchester United are rumoured to be keeping tabs on the 21-year-old, although Charles Perrin of the Express (via Mundo Deportivo) has claimed AC Milan could beat the Premier League giants to the midfielder and are prepared to offer terms worth upwards of £3.5 million per season.
So far in 2012-13 Koke has figured in all but one of Atletico’s Primera Division matches and is the joint assist leader in La Liga with Cesc Fabregas.
Monday, November 25
It’s thought Cruzeiro would accept €8 million for the 24-year-old’s signature, and Ribeiro recently told SporTV (as per Sky Sports) that he has "always liked Manchester United."
A left-sided winger who can also function as a wing-back, Ribeiro has so far scored 15 goals in 51 matches this season.
Monday, November 25
Manchester United have long been thought to have fancied bringing Ezequiel Garay to Old Trafford.
In January, they may finally get their man, according to Paul Gorst of the Mirror.
With Rio Ferdinand winding down, David Moyes almost certainly needs another veteran body in the centre of defence, and the 27-year-old has both the aerial presence and first-pass accuracy to do the job.
The Argentina international has a £17 million release clause in his contract. Napoli are also rumoured to be tracking him.