With only a week left until the January transfer window is opened for business, Manchester United are being tipped for a hectic winter period.
The Premier League champions are likely to dip into their budget over the next five weeks in an attempt to get their title defence back on track, with speculation swirling over exactly who is drawing the club's attention in particular.
Leading into what promises to be a frantic month in Manchester, read on for a breakdown of some of the latest news surrounding Old Trafford.
David Moyes' Praise for Wayne Rooney Dissuades Exit Rumours
The relationship between Wayne Rooney and David Moyes has taken a few bumps since the pair first partnered up alongside one another at Everton more than a decade ago, reuniting this summer following the latter's appointment at Old Trafford.
However, Rooney is going through some of the best individual form of his career and has earned huge praise from his manager, who describes the striker as a "real team player."
The Press Association's Simon Stone (h/t Daily Mail) recently quoted Moyes as saying of his talisman:
What Wayne is doing is making the others play well because he is playing well. He has turned himself into a real team player. With the assists for the team and the goals, his all-round contribution has been fantastic.
However, Moyes seems more determined than ever to keep his star forward at the Theatre of Dreams, Rooney being one of United's most important factors in getting back to the heights experienced under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Everton Ribeiro Favours Red Devils over Real
Even with the Red Devils going through a rough patch this season, Cruzeiro's Everton Ribeiro has stated that he would prefer a move to Old Trafford over the Santiago Bernabeu.
101GreatGoals have been tracking the maestro's skillful progress:
NUTS! Everton Ribeiro (Cruzeiro) pulls off sick reverse panna on Ailton (Fluminense) http://t.co/nEHYJzMF1A— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) October 17, 2013
Yes, I would prefer that [to join Manchester United].
The structure they have in place is one of the best in the world. I have been there already and went to a lecture by [Sir] Alex Ferguson when I was younger.
I feel I am ready to play in any part of the world. If you play for Cruzeiro, you can play in any place. I would fit in any part of the midfield. I would do well as a playmaker to support the attack.
Clearly not one in two minds regarding his own particular talents, it seems only the matter of securing a work permit will prevent Ribeiro from securing a move to the English giants.
However, that in itself could be a huge task given the 24-year-old's third-party ownership, which isn't permitted in the English top flight.
Ross Barkley Transfer out of United's Reach
Having picked up Marouane Fellaini from former club Everton over the summer, it seems Moyes can forget about adding Ross Barkley to the list of Toffees alumni this winter.
Sky Football's Matthew Stanger believes it was the young Englishman who should have been Moyes' priority all along:
United spent the summer chasing after all those midfield targets, when Moyes could easily have signed Barkley if he'd realised his potential— Matthew Stanger (@MatthewStanger) December 24, 2013
In Roberto Martinez, it appears Bill Kenwright has found another stern figure who's unwilling to let the Toffees' top talents leave Goodison Park, the Spaniard was reported by the Mirror's David Maddock as saying that not even a world-record amount would tempt the club into selling Barkley:
Even if we got a Gareth Bale-size valuation we would never even consider it in January. Ross is an icon for us. He represents everything we are trying to do this season, so even if a stupid offer arrived in January it would never, never affect us.
It is important for us as a football club to show we are making the right football decisions. There is no question mark over Ross’ future, he is in the best moment of his time and is everything we want a player to represent at Everton.
There is not even a question mark against whether he is going to be here in February or not.
Martinez was known for being a tough customer at Wigan Athletic, and it would seem the tactician has adopted a similar transfer policy on his newest post.