Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal wants to sign Real Madrid full-back Fabio Coentrao and is hopeful that the presence of superstars Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao at Old Trafford can persuade the Portuguese international to move in January.
That is according to The Express, who believe Van Gaal wants yet another left-back because Luke Shaw has struggled for fitness ever since completing a £27m move to Man United earlier this summer.
Coentrao has fallen down the pecking order at Madrid this season and featured in only one of their first five matches in La Liga, with Carlo Ancelotti preferring the previously sidelined Marcelo in the early weeks of the campaign.
If Ancelotti maintains that stance on his starting then Van Gaal is ready to throw Coentrao a lifeline and the chance to impress in the Premier League, hoping that super agent Jorge Mendes can persuade his third client to sign for United under the right terms.
First Ronaldo, then Khedira, now Coentrao
Madrid are fast growing accustomed to speculation surrounding their most important players in connection with a Premier League switch, although it has primarily focused on Cristiano Ronaldo's potential return to Manchester over the last three weeks.
Ronaldo will definitely be staying in the Spanish capital until next summer at the very least, but the future of two other United targets in Coentrao and Sami Khedira looks far more uncertain.
Khedira is well into the final year of his contract at the Bernabeu and there's no sign of an agreement over fresh terms, a deadlock which has led United to investigate the possibility of a £10 million deal when the window reopens.
Coentrao facing a season on the subs bench
Coentrao's situation is very different in that he recently put to pen paper on a deal which ties him to Los Blancos until 2019, on a reported salary of £100,000-a-week, but it may need Mendes to use his midas touch to force a quick end to that agreement if a lack of regular game time continues to be a major problem.
United would like Mendes to broker another big deal involving two of Europe's biggest clubs, after late summer agreements which saw Di Maria and Javier Hernandez swap clubs under vastly different terms.
On the surface it may look like United are fully stocked at left-back after buying both Shaw and Marcos Rojo during the close season, but Van Gaal wants one more if possible and clearly thinks Coentrao's experience at the very highest level could yet prove invaluable if he's put up for sale over the next three months.
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