The 2013/14 campaign to date has been a notably odd and inconsistent one for Manchester United. While last season's gentle stroll to the title in the final season under the tutelage of iconic boss Sir Alex Ferguson led to high hopes for the months ahead, the first summer under compatriot David Moyes was a hugely difficult and frustrating period.
With the former Everton manager evidently keen to secure at least one marquee signing to provide a bumper boost to his reputation in order to allay the fears of the minority who felt he just was not experienced enough at the elite level to to take on such a demanding role, he was clearly crestfallen to miss out on a number of his preferred targets.
One such target was Real Madrid full-back Fabio Coentrao. Despite many United fans feeling that the club already possessed a top-class left-back in the guise of Patrice Evra, Moyes was clearly desperate to sign a replacement as soon as possible.
Toffees and England star Leighton Baines was the club's first-choice target, but Everton openly refused to part with their main asset. This led to Moyes having to frantically switch tack during the final hours, with a proposed loan move for Coentrao coming tantalisingly close to completion.
Ultimately, however, both club and player were left disappointed after the deal was scuppered due to issues with the timing of certain paperwork.
However, it is my belief that this should certainly not be the end of United's pursuit of Coentrao.
With rumours circulating this week that supposed Premier League title rivals Tottenham are planning a loan swoop of their own for the Portuguese international, Moyes must be alert enough to ensure that they are able to get to him first.
The 25-year-old, who joined Real from Benfica during the summer of 2011 and is reportedly earning £100,000-per-week, has never truly been able to establish himself as a first-team regular at the Santiago Bernabeu and that has been to the detriment of his development.
With Evra looking certain to depart Old Trafford at the end of the current campaign, they need to find a worthy successor.
Coentrao's sheer versatility makes him just that. His speed and intelligence means he can be successfully deployed at left-back, while his natural attacking instincts make him able to play as a wing-back or indeed as a winger.
This latter point should be of particular interest to United, who are also in obvious need of a new wide midfielder given the struggles recently endured by the likes of Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Wilfried Zaha.
January is a hugely crucial month for Moyes' United tenure. With the Red Devils recently experiencing an upturn in fortunes on the pitch, they must also now seek to re-establish the club's dominance in the transfer market.
While other areas of the squad may appear to be in more pressing need of attention, beating off competition for Coentrao from Spurs - a club who previously might not have thought themselves able to compete with the likes of United - would be a good start.
Coentrao would be an extremely good signing.
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