When the new fixtures for the 2014/15 Premier League season came out, there were a few groans and moans from rival fans who believed that Manchester United were handed a comparatively easier start to the season than their respective clubs. Five games into the season and United's statistics read won one, drawn two, lost two.
What has gone wrong? A lack of stability, organisation, leadership and solidity at the back. United currently boast the best attack in the league. but like the old footballing saying goes: attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.
Lets look at five defenders who United could do with to bolster their ranks at the back in January...
1. Aymeric Laporte
Athletic Bilbao's 20-year-old French defender Laporte is only the second Frenchman - after Bixente Lizarazu - to represent the Basque club.
He is 20 and is already leading the defence of one of Spain's best clubs. Calm and composed on the ball, Laporte is widely regarded as one of the best young defenders in La Liga.
The youngster has a knack for moving forward with the ball and linking up with the attack. Although not the finished product yet, with a buy-out clause set at just £21 million, United would be wise to make a move as early as possible.
Signed from AS Roma last year, Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian centre-back Marquinhos is a fine young defender.
With the ability to play in a number of positions, the 20-year-old has matured beyond his age since his move from Rome to Paris. The youngster is partnering his compatriot David Luiz at the back while club captain Thiago Silva is recovering from an injury.
PSG coach Laurent Blanc believes that Silva has to fight for his position to dislodge Marquinhos from the team - that's how highly he is rated.
3. Fabian Schär
One thing Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal always admires in a defender is his ability on the ball. FC Basel's 22-year-old Swiss defender Schär is exactly the kind of intelligent and elegant defender that he admires so much.
Although not quite physical enough for the harsh rigours of the English game, the Swiss international can build himself up in time. With Arsenal and Tottenham also reportedly interested, United would be wise to move in quick to avoid a long bidding war.
4. Neven Subotić
Borussia Dortmund's Subotic is one of the most accomplished defenders in Europe. Tall, strong, physical, the 25-year-old typifies the qualities required to succeed in the Premier League.
At 6ft 4 inches tall, he is strong in the air and technically sound on the ball. Manchester United could do a lot better with the calmness and composure that he brings with him.
5. Mats Hummels
Subotić's defensive partner and Dortmund's captain fantastic, Hummels is quite possibly the best central defender on the planet. Graceful, elegant and intelligent, the 25-year-old has always drawn comparisons to German legend Franz Beckenbauer.
The Dortmund stalwart has immense ability and all the qualities required to succeed in the Premier League. His ability to move the ball out of defence with relative ease and elegance makes him one of the most technically gifted defenders in the world. The German international also has the occasional goal in him, a quality that United could do with. The Old Trafford outfit are long-term admirers of him.
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