The January transfer window is a huge month for David Moyes and Manchester United, especially after the club slumped to a duo of Old Trafford defeats since the turn of the year.
Moyes will reportedly receive £200 million to strengthen his squad over the next 18 months, per Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail. The Scottish boss certainly needs to make a huge impression with his next few transfers and will look to secure world-class quality as United battle to turn their campaign around.
Potential signings continue to be linked with a move to the Theatre of Dreams, but amongst all of the rumours, which players should be classed as Moyes' top targets? Let's take a look.
David Moyes’ Top Targets
Marco Reus, Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund fans already have to deal with the loss of Robert Lewandowski this season, so it's unlikely Marco Reus will leave the Westfalenstadion before the summer, especially as his £30 million buyout clause doesn't come into effect until then, per Samuel Stevens of The Independent.
When that time comes, a free-for-all of Europe's top clubs are likely to battle for the German's signature.
United are crying out for Reus' qualities. His lightening pace, dribbling ability and incisiveness are currently missing from Moyes' flanks, as an over-reliance on Adnan Januzaj and Antonio Valencia's inability to deliver a ball continues to cripple play.
Reus' 10 goals and six assists across a combined total of 23 Bundesliga and Champions League appearances, per WhoScored.com, have come during a time that has seen Dortmund and the player fail to hit top form. Despite an inconsistent run of displays, Reus is still producing excellent numbers.
With Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney continuing to struggle with injury, United have no fear factor. Reus' arrival would immediately change that, and if he can be snapped up in January, would show the rest of the world Moyes means business.
Ilkay Gundogan, Borussia Dortmund
Staying in Dortmund for one moment, Ilkay Gundogan's inability to pen a new deal should provide United with raised hope, per Stephan Uersfeld of ESPN FC.
Jurgen Klopp has been without his star midfielder for much of the season, and boy has it showed. Gundogan's creative and commanding presence in the centre often forces Dortmund over the line, a trait United currently lack in midfield.
Michael Carrick is not the type of player who makes the difference with a smart burst of movement or spontaneous sprint toward the box, despite his wand-like strokes of the ball.
Gundogan's energetic nature would open up greater space for the Englishman and certainly help United overcome the sense of lethargy that often sees their play in the middle reduced to walking speed.
United fans have called for a new midfield sensation across the last few years. Players such as Cesc Fabregas, Daniele De Rossi and Sami Khedira have been linked to no avail, reported by ESPN FC. Moyes can overcome the club's previous failures with a huge bid for Dortmund's versatile star.
Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid
United have been unable to compete with Arsenal so far this season, but Moyes could initiate a storming comeback if he breaks the bank for Diego Costa.
The Atletico Madrid striker is currently linked with both clubs, per Ed Malyon of the Mirror, suggesting this particular tug-of-war could have a major impact on the Premier League for years to come.
As highlighted by Guillem Balague, Bleacher Report UK guest columnist and Spanish football expert, United will find it difficult to capture Costa and Koke—who is also linked with a move, per Jamie Jackson of The Guardian—across the coming month:
My sources say they have told the club that they don't want to go. With the World Cup only a heartbeat away, both harbour aspirations of participating in it. Also, a move to another club, however big, would see them cup-tied for the rest of the Champions League they are still very much competing in.
Which player should David Moyes make most effort to sign?
With 23 goals in 21 appearances in Atletico's terrific La Liga and European form, per WhoScored.com, Costa is worth fighting for. Just imagine, for one second, the imposing physicality and grit of the Brazilian playing alongside Rooney.
Moyes needs to pull off something of this stature and he needs to secure a transfer that appears impossible right now.
United's problems are rooted in the squad's overall lack of depth and quality, but one headline-grabbing transfer would make a huge difference across the remainder of this season.