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Analysing Manchester United's January Transfer Window

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28:  New signing Juan Mata of Manchester United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Cardiff City at Old Trafford on January 28, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2014

After the start from hell for David Moyes, with senior professionals shirking their responsibilities to the club and an injury list as long as your arm, the Scotsman is now publicly looking towards the future and the rebuilding of Manchester United.

This January transfer window will undoubtedly be remembered for one deal: The capture of Juan Mata from Chelsea.

Jon Super/Associated Press

As United felt the sting of the cruel hand of failure on their skin, Moyes' riposte was to find an antidote in the smooth Spaniard, who on his own improves United's midfield flair tenfold. 

But has Moyes done enough business this January?

Many United fans will tell you no.

The panic surrounding the end of the Ferguson era was always present, even before this season started. However, this was compounded by a rate of defeats not seen at Old Trafford for more than a generation.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05:  Rio Ferdinand (L) and Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United leave the field after the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Sunderland at Old Trafford on November 5, 2011 in Manchester, England.  (Pho
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The collapse of three of United's "former" world-class players has damaged the club's prospects hugely.

The careers of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra are all but over at United.

These three players were arguably the best in the world in their positions for an extended period, but their decline has suffocated the Red Devils just at a time when the team needs stability and leadership.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15:  Leighton Baines of England in action during the international friendly match between England and Chile at Wembley Stadium on November 15, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Should Moyes have purchased a defender in this window?

Leighton Baines was of course touted for months to join United with the player finally dedicating his future to Everton, per BBC Sport.

But Baines' age and price was not the perfect fit for United, despite the obvious ability the player brings with him. 

The two players United really need play for Porto, and the possibility of them becoming Manchester residents is high, as Manchester City attempt to take them both from under United's nose, per Mark Ogden and Jason Burt of The Telegraph

French defender Eliaquim Mangala and Brazilian midfielder Fernando fit the specific needs of Moyes right now, and both are subject to a £50.4 million joint bid from City, per Ogden and Burt's article. 

Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

Losing Mangala would be a blow to Moyes. He is the natural successor to Vidic.

Phil Jones will no doubt be given the long-term responsibility of carrying the central defence with Jonny Evans, but a partnership of Vincent Kompany and Mangala would be irresistible. It would take City to the next level. 

FLORENCE, ITALY - JANUARY 26: Anderson of ACF Fiorentina in action during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and Genoa CFC at Stadio Artemio Franchi on January 26, 2014 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

United have also lost three players in this window: Fabio has left the club permanently to join Cardiff, with Wilfried Zaha accompanying him on loan, per ManUtd.com.

Anderson has take the opportunity to join Fiorentina on loan and also bizarrely change his name, per Ben Jefferson of The Express.

All three are no loss, with Fabio falling behind the erratic Alexander Buttner in the pecking order. 

Fabio and Anderson were once huge Brazilian youth talents, and you cannot help but feel that United have mismanaged them to a certain extent.

Their combined injuries have hurt their progression and it is probably best for both players to start afresh elsewhere.

Zaha needs games, and the move to play under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a good one for him and for United.

The jury is out on whether he has the tools to be a United player, but we will never find out with him sat in the reserve team.

Zaha now has a few months to push for an unlikely place in England's World Cup squad and Cardiff could be a magical move for him if he hits the ground running.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30:  Fabio of Manchester United tussles for posession with Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace during the Carling Cup Quarter Final match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on November 30, 2011 in Manch
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

People forget that Zaha is still only 21 years old, and has never started a match in the Premier League.

With Adnan Januzaj's rise to prominence, it was always going to be difficult for him to get games. Like Nick Powell, he is one for the near future, but for now he needs to get minutes.  

United may not have brought in quantity during this window, but more importantly they have purchased world-class quality. 

Mata is the first brick in the rebuilding of this cracked structure, and his introduction to the squad is better than Moyes picking up several journeymen to help over the next couple of seasons.

If the club can get over its crippling injury crisis, it has the tools to make the top four.

Then in June the scaffolding that is holding up this behemoth of football can be taken down, when hopefully its restoration will be completed. 

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