David Moyes may be under intense pressure to add to his squad during the January transfer window, but a move for Real Madrid's Fabio Coentrao would be another negative mark against his name.
The United manager is already under scrutiny following his failure to strengthen during the summer and a poor start to 2014 which has seen three consecutive defeats, and he may turn to Coentrao who has been out of favour under Carlo Ancelotti at the Bernabeu, as reported by Ian Herbert in the Independent.
Real Madrid do appear to be willing to release Coentrao and the player's agent, Jorge Mendes, is using his strong United connections to push for the move. But Real coach Carlo Ancelotti's pessimism about such a deal taking place reflects the doubts of the United manager.
Moyes later denied the report, according to a report from ESPN:
Coentrao has not played for more than two months because of a thigh injury sustained on international duty for Portugal against Sweden. Moyes denied that Mendes' presence in Manchester on Tuesday night meant a deal was imminent, though the player is understood to be as keen as Real for him to move to Old Trafford.
However, rather than be panicked into a move for Coentrao, Moyes must instead turn his attention to Southampton's teenage sensation Luke Shaw, as per Jeremy Wilson in the Telegraph, while coaxing another year of top-level performance from Patrice Evra.
France international Evra, 32, is one of the few senior figures at Old Trafford who is not completely past his best.
While there are big question marks against the future of other veterans such as Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, it is entirely possible that Evra can be retained for another successful campaign.
Meanwhile, United should add Shaw to their ranks with the intention that he can learn from Evra, a player who has won five Premier League titles and the Champions League during his time as a Red Devil.
Shaw has previously been linked with Chelsea, as per Dave Kidd in the Mirror. A move to bring him to United from under the nose of their big-spending rivals would not only act as inspiration to Moyes's ailing troops that he is capable of attracting in-demand players to the club, but it would also send out a message that United are not a force on the wane and that they can still compete with the best.
Shaw, 18, fits the mould as a classic United signing, in the same way that Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Roy Keane arrived at the club at a young age and were taught the United way.
The England Under-21 international will also be able to join a young core of the United team such as David de Gea, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Adnan Januzaj, Wilfried Zaha and Danny Welbeck that will allow Moyes to build for the future.