Manchester United's faltering season under David Moyes isn't showing signs of letting up, but the Scottish manager can improve his team's chances of success by adding world-class quality to the squad throughout January.
Rumoured targets continue to circulate, but amongst all of the names linked with initiating a potential rescue act, Juventus' Claudio Marchisio is one to be wary of. Not because he's a bad player—quite the opposite, in fact—but because the Italian star isn't what the Red Devils need at this time.
As reported by Ben Jefferson of the Express, Marchisio could offer a quick-fix to United's tumbling hopes of silverware:
Reports in Italy suggest that the Red Devils have approached the Turin giants about the availability of Marchisio and are willing to part with £20m to bring the 27-year-old to Old Trafford.
Marchisio is reportedly surplus to requirements at Juve with Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal considered the midfield of the future by the Italian club.
While Marchisio would undoubtedly be welcomed with open arms to Old Trafford, his acquisition would suggest Moyes isn't necessarily outlining the right type of player to improve his squad.
Marchisio operates close to the strikers, just as Shinji Kagawa likes to do, but the Japanese player is already proving United don't have room for such a player. More necessary is a central midfield general.
A panic buy is the last thing the Premier League champions need, especially as Marouane Fellaini—Moyes' only signing to date—has disappointed since exchanging Merseyside for Manchester.
As noted by Martin Lipton of BT Sport, three defeats since the start of 2014 ensures Moyes is now at a crossroads in his United career, one that could prove damaging to the club's long-term prospects if losses continue to appear:
Moyes retains the backing of the fans and the boardroom, the loyalty of his players. He, though, has to stand up and be counted now, to prove he is the man for the job.
There can be no signs of weakness, no hints of doubt. If there are, then disintegration could follow.
Funnily, the other two players mentioned in Jefferson's report highlight what United once had, and what they now need.
Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to let Paul Pogba leave remains a major mistake. The French midfielder continues to improve at a rapid pace and is already a key component of Juve's side. At just 20 years of age, the imposing youngster deserves to be recognised as one of the game's top prospects.
Pogba's ability to tackle, throw his weight around and dominate in the air is something United currently lack. Or rather, let slip.
Arturo Vidal's performances are also outlined as a reason for Marchisio becoming surplus to requirements at the Juventus Stadium. The versatile Chilean represents everything United should be looking for in a midfielder and is the type of player Moyes should break the bank to land.
Would Claudio Marchisio turn Manchester United's season around?
If Marchisio costs the rumoured £20 million—and Moyes is to receive a transfer budget of £200 million across the next 18 months, per Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail—the former Toffees boss would be smart to double his bid and opt for Vidal.
Both Pogba and Vidal are hard-working, strong tacklers and physical specimens in the centre. They also regularly score goals and are the type of player who can take responsibility across the pitch.
Does Moyes really want to spend heavily on the offcuts of Antonio Conte's squad? Marchisio is a fine player, one who also works hard, but he doesn't possess the defensive prowess to make himself a viable long-term solution to United's midfield problems.
Marchisio's attacking instincts often see him floating just behind the striker, interlinking passes and making smart runs from the left. Signing him would pretty much throw in the towel on Kagawa, ending the myth that he will one day lead United to the promised land.
While United could use more creativity from the wings and forward areas, it would be criminal for Moyes to spend without securing a midfield destroyer.
Marchisio is not that player, but if Moyes shows a little guts and ambition, he could pick up a Bianconeri representative who is.