Manchester United's season is nearing a complete write-off, and even a Champions League place now seems beyond them, so the focus is shifting toward rebuilding the squad for the next campaign.
Calls for a complete overhaul of the playing staff are wide of the mark, with good options in goal and in attack, and with Adnan Januzaj shining on the wing. Defensively there is a clear transition taking place which will take time, but United's biggest weakness continues to be in midfield.
Michael Carrick has performed to a high level this season but is in desperate need of quality around him. Carrick is now 32, and although he's reliably metronomic in his passing, he requires an energetic, all-action partner.
At Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers has found a good balance with the passing range of Steven Gerrard in a deep role, the hard running of Jordan Henderson ahead of him and the guile of Philippe Coutinho supporting attacks.
Moyes already has some of the parts to put together a similar trio with either Wayne Rooney, Shinji Kagawa or Juan Mata in the role of attacking mischief maker. But he needs that missing link to complement Carrick, a player who can work all over the pitch, pressing, breaking up play, retaining possession and chipping in with the odd goal. Now, according to talkSPORT, the Red Devils are targeting 21-year-old Brazilian William Carvalho to fill the midfield void.
Let's take a look at the current state of the United midfield and why Carvalho is the man to fix what ails David Moyes' side.
The big Belgian is more immobile than Carrick and lacks any great vision or technical qualities needed in midfield. His strengths are best deployed in a No. 10 position as a second forward, where he caused great chaos in an Everton shirt, winning headers and out-muscling defenders to support his fellow striker.
But given Moyes' options in that role, it is unlikely Fellaini will be pushed up the pitch. So far, he looks a poor investment.
Cleverley has been disappointing this season and, at 24 years old, is no long the young hopeful he once was. He remains tidy on the ball, with a good work ethic and glimpses of creativity, but United want to re-establish themselves as a force at home and in Europe, and Cleverley has yet to prove he has the qualities to elevate them there. A useful squad player.
Fletcher recently declared himself happy just to be playing football at all having returned from major surgery, and at 30 is unlikely to reach his old peak. Another useful option, but not the answer to Moyes' problems.
Transfer Target: William Carvalho
Sporting Lisbon's 21-year-old midfielder has a strong, physical presence and puts in a great deal of defensive work in front of his centre-backs. Carvalho, who was born in Angola, is technically sound and uses his strength to shield the ball from opponents and initiate attacks from deep in much the same way Moussa Dembele does for Tottenham.
And despite his deployment as a holding role player Carvalho has shown he has good attacking instincts, scoring two goals and almost adding to his tally with this delicious lob with a flick of his right-boot.
He shone on loan in Belgium last season for Cercle Brugge and was rewarded with a starting place in the Sporting side this term. His rapid emergence has been recognised on the international stage, earning his first cap in the World Cup playoff against Sweden.
Carvalho has been likened to Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira and Nemanja Matic, the Benfica midfielder United tried to sign in January but who instead went to Chelsea. If the lofty comparisons are justified then Carvalho would be the perfect tonic for Moyes' troubled season.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!