David Moyes has moved to deny reports that Fabio Coentrao is closing in on a Manchester United switch, the Portuguese left-back tipped as a potential replacement for Patrice Evra.
The Manchester United manager was speaking in the wake of his side's 2-1 defeat at Sunderland on Tuesday, the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final bringing about the Red Devils' third loss in a row.
ESPN FC reports Moyes saying that a deal isn't in place with Real Madrid, reiterating how difficult it can be to lure top talents during the January window.
When quizzed on whether terms had already been agreed for Coentrao's transfer, Moyes responded: "No, that's not true."
As things stand, Evra's deal at Old Trafford is set to expire at the end of the season along with fellow senior figures Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Nemanja Vidic.
The Telegraph's Mark Ogden insists United are indeed looking into the player's potential purchase, but rumours of Coentrao attending the Stadium of Light fixture were false:
Coentrao is a player Utd are considering, but ignore the rogue tweets suggesting he's at Sunderland tonight— Mark Ogden (@MOgdenTelegraph) January 7, 2014
It has been reported that Monaco are hoping to lure Evra back to the French Riviera as a free transfer this summer, with the Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel reporting in December that a lucrative offer was to be tabled.
Would Coentrao be a good option for United this winter?
With Alexander Buttner and Fabio each showing that they might not be up to the necessary standards needed of a player at Old Trafford, it would seem likely that Moyes is to bring in a replacement.
In September, a last-gasp move for Coentrao's services was scrapped due to the fact United were unable to facilitate a departure for Buttner at the time, per Ben Jefferson of the Express.
Coentrao has fallen further out of favour since Jose Mourinho departed the Bernabeu, with Carlo Ancelotti giving the defender just two La Liga starts this term, per Transfermarkt.co.uk.
The New York Times' Graham Ruthven comments that the Portuguese international holds more value than a deal for Everton's Leighton Baines would:
Well, Coentrao would certainly be a better signing for that money than Baines.— Graham Ruthven (@grahamruthven) January 6, 2014
Moyes' need for quality reinforcements this winter is dire. United currently sit seventh in the Premier League table, they have already been ousted from the FA Cup and are now on the back foot in their League Cup attempts.
That being said, Coentrao is one option from a fellow European giant who wouldn't be cup-tied for the latter half of the campaign, having yet to play a minute in the Champions League this season.
The debate still remains as to whether the 25-year-old is of the calibre that the reigning Premier League champions need, however, considering Real clearly have little use for him in La Liga.