Manchester United fear their January search for a new left back may prove fruitless, with Everton and Southampton keen to hang on to Leighton Baines and Luke Shaw respectively.
United manager David Moyes tried and failed to sign Baines from his old club in the summer after Patrice Evra admitted privately he needed genuine competition for his place in the team.
But United’s efforts were rebuffed by Everton chairman Bill Kenwright and, although Moyes has been told by chief executive Ed Woodward that he has money to spend next month, the Barclays Premier League champions fear they will face similar resistance from the Merseyside club, as well as from Southampton for back-up target Shaw.
Shaw, 18, is also on Chelsea’s radar but Southampton have made it clear they are determined not to sell. Rated one of the most promising young English players in the country, the teenager will leave the south coast club before too long but it looks as though it will not be before the summer.
United desperately need a left back as Dutchman Alexander Buttner has not proved up to the task since being signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2012. The 24-year-old, himself wanted by Tottenham this January, has started only one Premier League game this season, meaning that Evra, at 32, has carried the majority of the workload. Already this season, the France defender has made 29 appearances for club and country in all competitions.
The only way Moyes feels he may be able to sign either Baines or Shaw is if one of them formally asks to leave his club — and United are not hopeful of that happening during this window.
Their other option in the position is Real Madrid’s Portugal defender Fabio Coentrao, whom United tried and failed to take on loan at the end of the summer transfer window in August.
Although that deal fell through, the player has subsequently endured a tough time, suffering a hamstring injury while with his national side. He also lost his father in November.
Coentrao is eager to make a fresh start and a move to England and Old Trafford appeals. It is expected United would have to come up with about half of the £25million Real paid Benfica for the 25-year-old in the summer of 2011.
United are at home to Tottenham tomorrow as Moyes looks to capitalise on an improvement in their form in the Premier League.
With Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie both in with a chance of returning to the forward line, United could certainly have a potent look about them as they try to extend their winning run to seven games and close further on the top four. – Daily Mail