It’s become a point of general consensus that Manchester United are poised to have a clear-out sale this month as David Moyes looks to address the issues within his inherited team.
Of course if the expected exodus of fringe players does occur then it stands to reason that the reigning Premier League champions will be looking to the winter market for players to bring in.
And perhaps the position that is in the most dire need of a revamp is that of the midfield, where the likes of Anderson and Tom Cleverly are amongst those tipped to vacate Old Trafford.
A plethora of high-profile names have subsequently being chalked up on the transfer board as viable options in the centre of the park, though as of yet the only player of note who has joined the post-Sir Alex Ferguson revolution has been Marouane Fellaini.
But rather than targeting players at the very top end of the market i.e. Cesc Fabregas, Daniele de Rossi and Ilkay Gundogan, in my mind there’s a far more industrious midfielder who could fill the void for United, and be incredibly economically beneficial at the same time.
His name? Michael Essien.
The Ghanaian enforcer may not be possessive of enough flair or skill to bustle his way into contention for a regular first-team place amongst the wealth of options available for Jose Mourinho, but he has more than enough in his locker to be of use to David Moyes.
Since returning to Chelsea, following his year long sabbatical at Real Madrid, Essien’s appearances have been limited to substitute cameos and the odd run out when Mourinho is looking to rest those who sit above the 31-year-old in the pecking order.
Such fortunes have paved the way for suggestions that the veteran Blue could be nearing an exit from Stamford Bridge, with his agent claiming that he would be tempted to move so long as it was to another side of a similar standard to the west London outfit.
Not only would he be available for a minimal transfer fee but he would certainly bring the muscle and physical presence that Moyes’ midfield had been crying out for all season.
Having plied his trade with success in Europe's top leagues for over ten years, and having amassed a healthy number of appearances in the Champions League against elite opposition, Essien's pedigree should make him a desirable property.
On top of this is his versatility, which cannot be understated in terms of how useful he could be within the United squad at present.
He is capable of plying his trade in the centre of midfield whilst moving up the pitch, but is also more than comfortable when it comes to sitting deep and protecting the back four- an area the Red Devils have been struggling with given the absence Darren Fletcher and disappointing form of Fellaini.
He can also double up as cover at full-back on either side, which could make him an even more attractive option if Moyes is unable to lure the likes of Leighton Baines or Luke Shaw to Old Trafford.
Put simply, Essien still has what it takes to cut it at the highest level and, although he isn’t as silky on the ball as the likes of Marco Verrati, or as young and exciting as Koke, he’s exactly the type of character United need to steady a ship that, in truth, has been rocking on rough tides since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.