Former Man Utd striker tops four-player list Moyes must sign
Man Utd last lost three games in a row 13 years ago and their succession of 2-1 defeats to Tottenham, Swansea and Sunderland had heaped even more pressure on David Moyes in the January transfer window.
The squad that Moyes inherited is best compared to a typical wine cellar, with the top wines past their best, some good wines still too young to truly enjoy and the Liebfraumilch making up the bulk of the remainder.
The early result is that Man Utd are now 13/8 to finish in the top four this season.
A complete clearout may not be the worst approach from Moyes in what is already a period of transition and moving on three or four players while they retain some value is a starting point.
Arsene Wenger has already shown with the likes of Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira that he has a shrewd eye for knowing when a star player is set to slowly decline.
Although the decision to sell Robin van Persie was, in a way, out of Wenger’s control, there is an argument that he was sold knowing that the peak had been reached and that a decline wasn’t too far away.
Man Utd have certainly gained one productive season out of Van Persie, but injuries have begun to take their toll again and he is adrift of the likes of Olivier Giroud, Romelu Lukaku and Loic Remy this season in terms of goals, shots per game and key passes.
Looking around Europe, Mario Balotelli may not be high on the list of targets at Man Utd, but it is worth noting that only Luis Suarez shoots more on average per game than the AC Milan man this season.
Meanwhile, if it is a player with a high shot conversion rate that is sought, then Moyes may be best bringing Giuseppe Rossi back to Old Trafford, who has scored 14 goals this season at a rate better than one in every three chances. He is expected back in two months from a knee injury.
In midfield, it is somewhat staggering that not one of Man Utd’s central midfielders have produced a single assist so far this season, while Adnan Januzaj is the only midfielder to have scored more than once.
Antoine Griezmann has netted 12 times from the wing for Real Sociedad, with only Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa the only players to better this tally in La Liga, and he has been linked with Arsenal.
He could be a shrewd signing from Spain, as could Atletico Madrid’s Koke, who has helped himself to eight assists.
From a defensive standpoint, only five teams have completed fewer tackles on average than Man Utd this season, with Phil Jones their most frequent tackler with an average of just 2.5 per game, which is less than Chelsea’s Oscar and Miralem Pjanic of Roma.
Luis Gustavo may be available at Wolfsburg despite only signing in the summer and he could bolster the Man Utd midfield in this regard.
Moyes has a reported £100m kitty at his disposal and this would be enough to fund moves for Rossi, Griezmann, Koke and Gustavo in January.