Throughout a summer transfer window fraught with uncertainty and bitter disappointment, it was obvious to all that new Manchester United manager David Moyes desperately needed to boost his ailing midfield.
While the Scot - who finds himself somewhat under pressure after presiding over a rather disastrous start to the 2013/14 domestic campaign - did eventually manage to bolster his squad with the £27.5 million capture of combative Belgian international Marouane Fellaini, it remains painfully evident that they are still lacking the necessary quality through the centre of the pitch.
While Fellaini certainly adds welcome bite to the Red Devils' midfield, only Michael Carrick appears to have the desired quality in possession while Brazilian Anderson and England international Tom Cleverley often flatter to deceive.
Given their inadequacies in the middle and their desperately poor start to the Premier League season, it is surely a given that Moyes will be looking to play a significant role in the transfer market when it re-opens for business in January.
One player I believe should be targeted by United is Spurs star Mousa Dembele. The Belgian, who arrived at White Hart Lane from London rivals Fulham in August 2012, is a truly formidable presence and boasts an impressive all-round skill set that could provide a dramatic boost to United's seemingly slim chances of retaining their top-flight crown.
As well as providing a useful and athletic defensive presence with tough and often uncompromising tackling, Dembele is remarkably gifted in possession and is capable of gliding past opponents with embarrassing ease.
Given his grace and poise on the ball, it is a wonder that he has not been utilised in more advanced positions on a more frequent basis. If he were to move to United, Moyes would have a player equally adept at filling in defensively or providing ammunition for the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie to thrive upon.
Given Spurs' apparent new status as title contenders, whether they would be willing to sell Dembele - particularly during such a crucial stage of the season - remains to be seen. Given the impressive partnership the 26-year-old has formed with newcomer Paulinho at White Hart Lane, it would presumably take a sizeable offer to secure his services.
However, in truth, United are going to have to pay over the odds for any player they choose to target during January. The lavish sums they have at their disposal have been well-documented of late, while every club across the world must be fully aware of their intentions to strengthen significantly during the winter.
So, if Moyes is forced to pay an extravagant fee in January, who better to spend it on than someone who has experience of the division and who will be ready to make an instant impact without first having to acclimatise to such a physically demanding league?
Ultimately, Moyes needs to seek a fast and adequate solution to his glaring midfield inefficiencies. While there are sure to be many high-profile names on his January wishlist, arguably none could have the immediate impact of Dembele.
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