Can Fredy Guarin and Eliaquim Mangala Save Manchester United's Season?

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2013

MILAN, ITALY - DECEMBER 09:  Fredy Guarin of FC Inter celebrates victory at the end of the Serie A match between FC Internazionale Milano and SSC Napoli at San Siro Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

The transfer window in January is classically a time of inactivity for Manchester United.

However, it cannot come soon enough for David Moyes

United's poor start to the season has been compounded by a huge drop in performance levels from their senior professionals and the injury to Michael Carrick, which has ripped the heart from their midfield.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 06: Michael Carrick of England looks on from the bench  during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group H match between England and Moldova at Wembley Stadium on September 6, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

One player should not have such an impact on results, but Carrick's absence has highlighted the vulnerability most knew United had in the middle of park.

In just a few weeks, Moyes will finally get to spin the transfer roulette wheel and reinforce the weakest parts of his squad. The bigger questions are how much he will have to spend and who he can actually get with teams in the middle of Champions League campaigns.

The two players it appears United are keenest to sign are Fredy Guarin of Inter Milan and Eliaquim Mangala from Porto.

They play in the two critical positions that have let down United most this season.

As the partnership of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand appears to be on its final legs, the option of Mangala is an excellent one. The Frenchman is one of the hottest defensive properties in Europe. As a player, Mangala is a hybrid of Vidic and Ferdinand. He is physical, like the United captain, but has the technique you do not always associate with center-backs.

Moyes is famed for the depth of his scouting, and the United manager was present in Madrid to watch the player. The disastrous form of his senior defenders will almost definitely push the United manager into making a quick acquisition, and Mangala fits the mandate. 

Guarin has enjoyed good reviews since his move to Inter, and he is the type of tigerish footballer United lack. He is a classic "box to box" midfielder who can both defend with aggression and be creative in the last third of the pitch.

It appears that Inter would be prepared to listen to offers for the player, but this may involve a swap deal for United's Chicharito, as the Italian giants are looking to rebuild their squad. Even though the Mexican would be a loss, Moyes might feel Guarin would give him something the squad clearly does not possess at present.

Guarin and Mangala would be fantastic signings, but would they save United's season?

As good as both players are, you would expect them to take time to settle in, and neither player is in the "world class" bracket of footballers many United supporters crave as signings.

However, these two men would be the initial building blocks for a new era under Moyes.

Both players are tough and would add muscle to United without sacrificing technique. Their predicted transfer fees also fit the Glazer's strict transfer budget, with the added bonus of Guarin's Champions League eligibility. 

Mangala paired with Jonny Evans would give United an excellent defensive pairing, allowing Guarin to complement Carrick in midfield, with a supporting cast of Phil Jones, Marouane Fellaini and Tom Cleverley.

These seven players would finally give United the flexibility and diversity all top teams need in their central cores and would drive United back toward the top of the Premier League.