Manchester United Must Prepare For Summer Transfer Woes to Worsen in January

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By Tony Mogan | December 11, 2013 2:11 AM EST

Ander Herrera. Ilkay Gundogan. Wesley Sneijder. Julian Draxler. Just some of the names already orbiting around next month's transfer window who are the supposedly the solution to Manchester United's deteriorating season.

They range from decent to excellent resolutions to the club's woes, but as we learned during the summer, identifying transfer targets and ensuring their names are adorning replica shirts after deadline day are two very different scenarios.

While David Moyes has received the brunt of criticism for a bleak start of the season that sees the reigning champions sat ninth in the league - 13 points off leaders Arsenal - it's now become clear to most that the mishandling of perhaps the important summer in the history of the club cannot be laid solely at his feet.

The Scot was fundamentally given the right to conduct the clubs affairs, but was left to do so with one hand tied behind his back, as an underfunded and mismanaged summer came to a tame finale.

Completing a successful transfer in today's market is far from a one-man job, and the club's shortcomings, not just Moyes', were laid bare in the summer, prompting the assumption that the club have no choice but to have another go in January.

While a lack of activity would condemn the United boss to pressure and scrutiny the like of which he has never experienced in management, remedying that in the notoriously awkward January window is almost an impossible task.   

It's a window already fraught with price mark-ups, clubs reluctant to do business and players hesitant to swap clubs mid-season, all exacerbated by the desperate nature of United's recruitment drive.

Despite soundbites throughout the summer proclaiming the club are willing to back any move no matter how ambitious it may have seemed, the lack of action rang louder than anything else. As we know, clubs are under no real pressure to sell next month. Any fans harbouring desires of seeing the side successfully attracting some of Europe's most sought after players in January will need a reality check.

What is the alternative? We saw it in the summer through the last minute arrival of Marouane Fellaini; exorbitant fees for second choice players. If those first choice options are not available, can United afford to progress with the second half of the season without enlisting additional bodies, particularly for their wafer-thin midfield?

The club are likely to have no choice but to throw caution to the wind and hand over as much cash as they can at their desired targets to ensure the squad is sufficiently bolstered.

With the exception of the £15m signing of Wilfried Zaha - which hardly counts as the player barely stepped foot in Manchester until the summer - United have traditionally been a dormant force in the January window. Not since the signings of Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic in early 2006 have the club made significant additions, with Anders Lindegaard the only other real deal to be finalised in the winter months.

But that will have to change in the coming weeks, particularly if those clubs around United look to strengthen their respective squads. It's an unenviable task; a problem of the club's own doing that simply must be addressed.

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