When it comes to sourcing a replacement for Patrice Evra at the end of the season, the majority of Manchester United fans are undoubtedly calling out for Luke Shaw as the Southampton starlet continues his meteoric rise towards international recognition.
But amid the Red Devils’ current malaise, bringing in established quality with Champions League experience far outweighs the need for further investment in youth, and with that in mind, David Moyes should reignite his interest in Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao.
The Portugal internationally is currently caught in footballing limbo – the Old Trafford boss has tried to sign him in the last two windows to no avail, despite the disillusioned defender managing just five La Liga appearances this season under Carlo Ancelotti.
Regardless of the lukewarm nature of his Bernabeu tenure – having never successfully usurped Brazilian Marcelo as Los Blancos’ resident No.3 – Coentrao comes highly-rated from his Primeira Liga days and prominent showings on the international scene.
The left full-back, who can also operate on the wing or in central midfield, recorded eight goals and 13 assists in 97 appearances during his two campaigns in the Benfica first team, claiming a Portuguese title and the Breakthrough Player of the Year award for 2010 in the process.
Similarly, with the Portugal national team, the 25 year-old dons 43 caps and was named in UEFA’s Team of the Tournament for Euro 2012.
Still enduring misfit status in the Spanish capital, it’s believed Real will let Coentrao leave this summer for around £12million – but only after they source an adequate replacement first.
The Portuguese strikes the right balance between age, experience and price, and would be a solid, sturdy addition to the United backline.