Securing Koke would be a coup for David Moyes, but could struggle without further investment.
David Moyes needs to sign some players in January in order to reassure fans and the acquisition of Koke would do just that. However, expecting him to salvage Manchester United's season is too much to ask of the 21-year-old.
Adam Crafton of the Daily Mail reported that Moyes flew to Madrid to watch Koke in action for Atletico and take a step towards activating the buyout clause in the midfielder's contract.
There is some speculation in this area, as there always is. Crafton's article stated that it was around £30 million, while The Mirror has reported £24 million. The Daily Star, meanwhile, asserted that United's bid was likely to be in the region of £16 million.
Atletico Madrid's Koke ignoring rumors suggesting he is subject of interest from Manchester United. http://t.co/JyBTjQdEfO— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 12, 2013
Moyes will still need to reassure Koke of his ambitions in Manchester, of course. Even if United meet the requirements of the clause, the club must still agree personal terms with the player before he makes the switch.
It often comes down to wages and United are in a position to offer him amounts that Atleti cannot. However, Atleti are currently a better side than the Red Devils, so the sales pitch will have to be pretty impressive in order to tempt him away.
Even if he agrees to move to Old Trafford, he cannot be expected to turn the season around without further help. United's problems run deeper than one midfielder—although he would be an upgrade—and the creativity offered by Koke won't be enough to get United back on track.
Marouane Fellaini has struggled to transition between Merseyside and Manchester, and both Nani and Antonio Valencia have been inconsistent. Shinji Kagawa has been underused by Moyes, while Michael Carrick has missed the last six games with an Achilles injury.
That leaves a midfield bereft of ideas, with only Wayne Rooney operating in the No. 10 role to anything approaching the level expected by United fans. With his future also reportedly uncertain right now, outside of Adnan Junuzaj, it's difficult to imagine who Koke would link up with or play through.
Up front is a similar story. Robin van Persie has now been ruled out with injury, the Dutch striker picking up a thigh strain in the 1-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk.
With the midfield floundering, so much depends on van Persie. As a player who has struggled with injuries in the past, last season's run without incident was always unlikely to continue. It seems strange that, even knowing all that, Moyes has no real back-up for his striker.
There are just too many holes at Old Trafford to expect one player realistically to provide all the answers.
Koke would definitely make United a better team—that's never been in doubt. However, Moyes' problems go beyond Koke's ability and will be impossible for one player to mask.