Louis van Gaal has admitted that he needs to buy a full back in the final ten days of the January transfer window.
The Manchester United manager is forced into the market due to a series of injuries in that area, the latest being Ashley Young's groin injury which Van Gaal says will keep him out "for a very long time".
Young has filled in at both right-back and left-back this season after Luke Shaw's double leg-break and Antonio Valencia's ankle operation. To make matters worse for Van Gaal, the versatile Marcos Rojo had surgery on a dislocated shoulder in November.
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It adds a new twist to the Mirror's claims that the Dutchman won't be allowed to buy in January because of uncertainty over his future. “When you see our luck this season with our full backs, the full backs I started with were Valencia, Shaw and Rojo and Darmian and Young sometimes and they are injured," he said. "Only Darmian is back. I need full backs."
The 64-year-old continued: “The difficulty is we ask for a level and the clubs don't want to sell in this period and that is our problem. So we are looking but it is not so easy. Nobody can understand that because everybody thinks it is easy but it is not so.”
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Youngsters Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Guillermo Varela have been given game time, such is the depth of the injury crisis. Van Gaal thinks the pair are "doing great" but admits they need a better standard of player. "The level of Manchester United is high and to give every week a high performance normally it is very difficult for youngsters to deliver that.
“That is why we have to look for replacements."
Earlier today, French media reported that United officials discussed the Old Trafford hot seat with Pep Guardiola in a Paris hotel last week.
The club have denied this and Van Gaal has angrily rejected the idea of walking away. "This is not the business of the press," he snapped. "First you have sacked me and now you are interfering in my future.”
He spoke ahead of Saturday's home clash with Southampton, where he faces personal rival Ronald Koeman. The pair fell out at Ajax over a decade ago, when Koeman felt technical director Van Gaal was interfering in team matters.
Which full backs should Van Gaal go for? Let us know your suggestions in the comment section below.