David Moyes will buck the trend in the January transfer window, with Manchester United handing him a £100m war chest, according to my well-placed source in the global transfer market.
Moyes and chief executive Edward Woodward have targeted a number of big-name signings and will try to bring them to old Trafford in the January window as the club refuse to give up on the chase to retain their Premier League crown.
My source says: “There usually aren’t any really big deals in January, but while Chelsea can’t get the striker they’ve been looking at and Arsenal are thinking about buying, Manchester United will be the big spenders.
“They are out to bring in a few players and they are prepared to spend real money to do it.
“However, it isn’t a question of how much - that isn’t the issue - it is bringing in the right players, and that is often difficult in January. But they are determined to do it.”
There was bound to be a dip whoever took over from Sir Alex Ferguson and his key backroom staff, but Moyes has experienced a worse start than he anticipated.
Ross Barkley is the player Moyes wants the most"
Sir Alex and chief executive David Gill had more than 50 years’ experience at the club between them, and Woodward has learned fast that without top talent, the team has moved backwards with rivals like Manchester City investing heavily in the summer.
The January transfer window is Moyes' chance to save United's season, his chance to bring in a minimum of three players to make the difference.
Here are the top targets on Moyes’ wanted list - expect at least one if not two spectacular buys.
Ross Barkley - Everton
The 20-year-old has been a revelation in the Everton midfield this season and has broken into the England first-team. This is the player Moyes wants the most from his old club. His direct playing style would make him an ideal addition to United's weak midfield.
Injuries to Michael Carrick and the relative failure so far of summer signing Marouanne Fellaini makes the need for a top midfield signing the priority.It was tough for Sir Alex to sign Wayne Rooney from Everton, and Roberto Martinez will want to make sure Barkley stays with his team to push for a top four place at all costs. The youngster is already being valued at £80 million.
Chance of success: 2/10
Cristian Zapata - AC Milan
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are coming to the end of their careers so Moyes is in the market for a new ready-made central defender. AC Milan's Zapata is tough and scores goals - ideal for Moyes. Valued at £5.3m.
Chance of success: 8/10
Everton Ribeiro - Cruzeiro
The fact he was voted the Brazilian League's best player last season, ahead of Neymar, says everything about his quality. The 24-year-old is aware of interest from United and has been quoted as saying playing there is “the dream of any player”. Ribeiro would be perfect for the attacking midfield role if they cannot land Barkley.
Shinji Kagawa, the former Borussia Dortmund forward, is being linked with a move away from Old Trafford to make room for this type of player. Anderson is another on the way out, with Wilfred Zaha earmarked for a loan to Newcastle United.
Chance of success: 8/10
Koke - Atletico Madrid
Moyes has been to Portugal to watch Koke compete in the Champions League against Porto and the 21-year-old would strengthen United's midfield. Koke is renowned for his passing accuracy and despite his stature, has a substantial physical presence. The Spaniard would cost £18 million.
Chance of success: 8/10
Ander Herrera - Athletic Bilbao
Herrera to United is one that hasn't gone away since last summer, despite comments to the contrary from those involved. The Spanish midfielder has endured a difficult time at Bilbao since Ernesto Valverde took the reins from Marcelo Bielsa at the beginning of the season.
Herrera has made 12 appearances for Bilbao in La Liga this season. He started one of those games on the bench and was substituted in seven of them. Herrera prefers a deep-lying playmaker role.
Chance of success: 8/10
Highly-rated Sevilla youngster is tipped as a replacement for an ageing Patrice Evra, despite Moyes’ long-running interest in Leighton Baines, from his old club Everton, and Fabio Coentrao.
Moreno made his debut for Spain in October and turned 21 this year, which makes him a far more attractive prospect for the future. Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo both moved to Manchester City from Sevilla last summer.
Chance of success: 9/10
With Evra approaching his 33rd birthday and becoming more of a liability in defence, Moyes will be working hard to bring in a suitable replacement. Baines is unlikely to leave Everton so United could go back in for the Real Madrid and Portugal left-back.
The 25-year-old was close to joining United on loan during the summer but a last-minute deal couldn't be completed, reportedly leaving the player distraught. Coentrao would bring competent defending and astute attacking to the left side of United's team, with the option of moving him up to play as a winger.
Chance of success: 4/10
Angel di Maria
Real President Florentino Perez is looking to sell the Argentine winger as the club look to raise money, but other clubs are in competition for his signature.
Chance of success: 3/10
United scouted Matic since November and a move for the former Chelsea reject is on its way. The defensive midfielder has been a big hit at Benfica and he can enforce the weakest area of Moyes’ team in the centre of midfield. Matic will cost £20m now Benfica are out of the Champions League.
Chances of success: 9/10
The capture of Reus from Borussia Dortmund would be the stand-out deal of the January window if Moyes can pull it off. The German midfielder is one of Europe’s most exciting players.
Chances of success: 5/10
United and Liverpool have been quoted £33m for the Sevilla skipper, who has become frustrated with a lack of success at the club and with only a year-and-a-half left on his contract, the club could be forced to sell.
Club president Jose Castro is confident that he can keep the Croatian, stating: "Ivan Rakitic has a year-and-a-half of his contract remaining. I have absolutely no doubts that we're going to reach an agreement with him. If anyone else is in a rush to have Rakitic, his clause is €40m (£33m) and we'll leave it at that."
Chances of success: 4/10
His defensive performances for Basle in the Champions League have brought him to the fore, with Arsenal also interested. Dimitrios Papadopoulos, Schar's representative, says: “He is happy at Basel, where there is a great atmosphere within the club. Arsenal? I can confirm we have had contact with English clubs who want to sign him. There is also interest from Italian and German clubs, but we have more contact from England.”
Schar is a centre-back with the ability to play on the right side of defence. The 21-year-old would be defensive cover, as an eventual replacement for Ferdinand and Vidic.
Chances of success: 7/10