Manchester United have improved of late, but a terrible start to their 2013-14 EPL campaign has seen them already fall a whopping eight points off the pace as they currently reside in sixth place in the table.
While many chose to cite the issue as poor man-management from new manager David Moyes, this was always—in this reporter's opinion—an easy out for fans.
In reality, the issue came primarily as a result of a damaging period of transition not only off the pitch, but on it as well.
With many youth players still not quite mature enough to fully take on the reins, and a variety of regular first-teamers now reaching the twilight of their careers, United have been left somewhat in limbo.
If you look at a regular starting XI, you would be hard-pressed to find more than four or five players who you would consider (age-wise) to be in the "prime of their careers."
To resolve this issue—in the short term at least—clever signings need to be made to give the Red Devils any chance of retaining their crown.
This list catalogs, in no particular order, a handful of players who could make an instant impact at the club—and are selected entirely from United's Premier League cohorts.
An obvious one to start with.
Leighton Baines has been linked heavily with United for the best part of two years now, and it is seeming more and more inevitable that the left-back will eventually join up with England's greatest football team.
With Patrice Evra ageing, and Alexander Buttner still showing signs of weakness in his game, a quick fix needs to be found for the full-back slot.
While some are keen to chase Southampton's Luke Shaw, his tender age goes against the concept of this list: finding a player to make an instant impact.
Baines, on the other hand, is a proven Premier League stalwart. Undoubtedly soon to be the first-choice England left-back, the Liverpudlian would do well to promote himself further with a move to the champions.
I was shocked that Baines didn't join former teammate Marouane Fellaini in his move to Old Trafford this summer. In fairness to the Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, this was due mostly to his persistence not to sell one of their best players for anything less than the bare minimum at which he rated him.
Desperation may force Moyes' hand to raise the bidding price this winter.
I've always been a little perplexed as to why Yohan Cabaye's name hasn't been mentioned in the same sentence as Manchester United's with a little more regularity.
The Frenchman has shown this season (even against United) how important he is to a Newcastle side that have a genuine outside chance of challenging for the top four.
Integral in the French national team's starting XI, Cabaye has the experience and the quality to play for most top English sides.
In truth, if it weren't for Mesut Ozil's arrival at the Emirates in the summer, I am 99 percent sure that Cabaye would be a Gunner right now.
Arsene Wenger eventually elected to turn down a move for Cabaye, and it is likely that was because he knew Ozil would soon be arriving and joining up with an already-overpopulous midfield.
United, in contrast, are desperately lacking in this department.
The creative edge that Cabaye brings to a side is infallible, often totting up assist after assist for the Magpies.
On top of this, he is keen to win the ball back, has terrific stamina and will always chip in with seven to 10 goals every campaign.
All in all, this is the exact kind of player the club need to bolster their weakest area.
While this move makes perfect sense for me, there has been little to no news (or even rumors) of a move for Cabaye on Moyes' part.
With Alan Pardew coming out this week, per The Telegraph's Luke Edwards, and stating that holding onto Cabaye was a better bit of business than Arsenal signing Ozil, one also has to assume that the club are fairly keen to keep hold of him.
This is probably the most controversial slide.
Sandro is another name that is not often mentioned in regards to a move to United—or any other top side for that matter.
That may sound a little harsh on Spurs—who, after all, have finished in the top five every season for the past four years.
While Tottenham are a good team and do continue to excel in the league, there is probably a good argument that their pulling and retaining power is not quite as comparable with that of Arsenal, Chelsea, United, City and possibly even Liverpool.
As such, if the big boys really did want to opt in for a Spurs player, there would be a fairly decent chance they could pull the coup off.
Sandro is an intimidating Brazilian behemoth.
I've seen the defensive midfielder play on a few occasions now, and I am mightily impressed.
Sandro is like a brick wall in the middle of the Spurs midfield, allowing very little to get past him. He has a great eye for a pass and (as United fans discovered this year) a beastly strike when he connects with the ball cleanly.
While some may argue that Fellaini and Darren Fletcher play a similar position to the Brazilian, one has to counter that the former has shown little potential thus far, and the latter is going to need at least half a season to fully recover from his terrible illness.
Sandro, aged just 24, is a perfect answer to these issues.
Again, with practically no talk of any side looking to sign him, I doubt this one has any chance of going ahead.
Still, maybe David Moyes has seen something in the lad that could cause a shock winter move? We just don't know.
Adam Lallana has had a whirlwind couple of years in the Premier League.
Straight from the outset, things were promising, with the then-24-year-old instantly getting noticed.
The England international is one of these rare players who has been with his current club Southampton for practically all of his career.
Having joined up with the Saints in 2006 aged just 18, Lallana has since shown incredible loyalty to the south coasters—playing a huge part in their rise from League 1 to the Premier League.
Able to play as a winger, second striker and, most importantly for United, a central attacking midfielder, the talents of the man from St Albans are exactly what the Red Devils need this season to give them the edge in close games.
Unfortunately, with Lallana himself allegedly coming out and saying he would not be looking for a January move to Manchester, , per the Metro's Hannah Duncan, this deal seems incredibly unlikely to happen.
Still, this is football—there are no certainties.