Manchester United have stepped up their efforts to bolster their ailing squad after they watched Diego Costa and Ander Herrera this weekend.
After tumbling out of the FA Cup to Swansea, a defeat which lurched United’s season to a new low, manager David Moyes admitted there is an ‘urgency’ at Old Trafford to recruit players.
He has been searching Europe for a new left back, midfielder and a striker.
HERE’S WHY HE’LL COSTA LOT
Diego Costa has had a brilliant start to the season, scoring 23 goals in 21 club games. Below is his record in this campaign, with the matches in which he’s scored in bold.
La Liga, Aug 18 Sevilla 1 – 3 A Madrid (2)
La Liga, Aug 25 A Madrid 5 – 0 R Vallecano
La Liga, Sep 1 Sociedad 1 – 2 A Madrid
La Liga, Sep 14 A Madrid 4 – 2 Almeria
La Liga, Sep 21 Valladolid 0 – 2 A Madrid
La Liga, Sep 24 A Madrid 2 – 1 Osasuna (2)
La Liga, Sep 28 Real Madrid 0 – 1 A Madrid
La Liga, Oct 6 A Madrid 2 – 1 Celta Vigo (2)
La Liga, Oct 19 Espanyol 1 – 0 Atl Madrid
CL, Oct 22, A Vienna 0 – 3 A Madrid (2)
La Liga, Oct 27 A Madrid 5 – 0 Real Betis
La Liga, Oct 31 Granada 1 – 2 A Madrid
La Liga, Nov 3 A Madrid 2 – 0 A Bilbao
CL, Nov 6 A Madrid 4 – 0 A Vienna
La Liga, Nov 10 Villarreal 1 – 1 A Madrid
La Liga, Nov 23 A Madrid 7 – 0 Getafe
La Liga, Nov 30 Elche 0 – 2 A Madrid
CL, Dec 11 A Madrid 2 – 0 Porto
La Liga, Dec 15 A Madrid 3 – 0 Valencia (2)
La Liga, Dec 21 A Madrid 3 – 2 Levante (2) La Liga, Jan 4, Malaga 0 – 1 A Madrid
The wheels had been set in motion before that stark declaration, though, as United’s chief scout Robbie Cooke watched the highly-rated Costa play all 90 minutes of Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 win over Malaga on Saturday afternoon.
Koke – a midfield player with whom United have been extensively linked but have no intention of signing in January – scored the game’s only goal.
Cooke was one of a number of backroom staff who followed Moyes to Old Trafford from Everton and his mission took him from Spain’s south coast to San Sebastian in the north, where he watched Athletic Bilbao’s Herrera play in the 2-0 defeat by Real Sociedad.
Costa, who was wanted by Liverpool last August and has recently been linked with both Chelsea and Arsenal, has become one of the top strikers in Europe this season, scoring 19 goals in 18 games to help his side emerge as Barcelona’s main threat in the race for La Liga.
The 25-year-old, who was granted Spanish nationality last year and has turned his down the chance to represent Brazil, the country of his birth, at the World Cup, signed a new deal with Atletico in the wake of Liverpool’s interest but his contract has a £31.5million release clause.
Whether United would be prepared to meet that remains to be seen but Costa fits the profile of player that the club need to sign during this window if they are going to stand any chance of finishing in the top four in May.
Herrera was wanted by United in the summer but their attempts to land the former Spain Under 21 midfielder fell asunder on deadline day, when they failed to meet a £30m release clause in his contract. He has two-and-a-half years remaining on that deal.
Bilbao are in contention for a Champions League place but Moyes may yet go back with a renewed attempt to land the 24-year-old, given how stretched United have become in midfield due to mounting injuries.
There is recognition at Old Trafford that the club needs to give Moyes maximum assistance in the next 25 days, given how badly the summer window ended.
The manager knows it will be difficult to prise the type of player he wants but United have funds to go for the quality he craves.
This is going to be a crucial period for the club and former goalkeeper Mark Bosnich believes they need to spend big if they are going to salvage what has so far been a wretched campaign.
‘Manchester United’s problems can be traced back to their lack of activity in the transfer window last summer,’ said Bosnich. ‘You have to improve your squad every year if you’re going to stay on the top.
‘The Glazers, Ed Woodward or whoever is calling the shots, have really got to stand up in this January transfer window and give Moyes funds to get the players he really wants.
‘This season is heading towards disaster. They might not finish in the top four. They really need to say, “This season is salvageable, we might not win the title but we could finish in the top four but we need to identify big players, players of Manchester United’s calibre and spend some money”.’
Source : Daily Mail