Five players who could make Man United less rubbish in January

Koke is a focal point at Atletico Madrid. Photo: PA

Koke - Atletico Madrid

The Spanish international is a revelation in La Liga, performing a pivotal role in the Atletico Madrid midfield, which has seen them take second spot in the league this season. Koke has also seen his stock rise on the continent, aiding his side to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. His ability going forward helped Falcao last year, and has been equally useful for the prolific Diego Costa this term. With already more than 100 club appearances to his name, the 21-year-old midfielder earned first international cap in August. In addition to his attacking prowess, Koke's supreme ability and versatility has seen him drop into a holding role, where he also looks like a natural, making him a valuable asset, possibly pricing himself out of the market in January.

Ander Herrera almost move to United in the summer. Credit: PA

Ander Herrera - Athletic Bilbao

David Moyes infamously failed to get his hands on the Basque midfielder in the summer, as United were unable to come up with the cash to buy out his contract at the San Mames. Herrera wanted the move to Old Trafford, something which saw his form in La Liga dip tremendously, forcing him to spend time on the bench under new manager Ernesto Valverde. He has made his way back into the side, playing a key role in their recent win over champions Barcelona. Valverde has pushed Herrera into a position behind one central striker, a role the midfielder is rapidly adapting to. His quick interplay would be a valuable asset in Manchester, as Marouane Fellaini's lethargic pace and Tom Cleverley's inability to accurately pass the ball have seen United slump into ninth.

Ilkay Gundogan - Borussia Dortmund

Man United have suffered from a collection of slow transitions in their midfield this season, failing to move the ball quickly enough into their starved forward line or out wide. Ilkay Gundogan is a man who could easily rectify this issue - the Germany international is comfortable playing the ball long and short, adding great impetus to any game. In the Bundesliga, he is one of the most natural readers of game, something that keeps him ahead of his opponents, a skill easily transferred to the hectic Premier League. United have struggled to keep possession throughout the campaign, meaning a calm head like Gundogan's would be a great addition to the squad.

Lars Bender - Bayer Leverkusen

A man who was recently part of a side embarrassed 5-0 at home by Moyes' pitiful band of of mid-tablers might not be the obvious choice to solidify your midfield, but Lars Bender is in fact a very suitable candidate. The Bayer Leverkusen man has 17 caps for Germany, and has popped up with four goals in that time, a useful trait that United currently lack. Primarily a defensive midfielder, the German was the subject of interest from Arsenal in the summer, but Arsene Wenger wouldn't pay over the odds for him, but United's needs mean they might have to push the boat out. A strong tackler, Bender can start attacks by linking defence to midfield, allowing a side to play at a considerably higher to what United are currently offering. A great reader of the game, Bender stays one step ahead of attackers in the Bundesliga, and would be a great shield for United's defence.

Darren Flecther is back training with the Manchester United first team. Credit: PA

Darren Fletcher - Manchester United

There is a much simpler solution for Moyes, as he already has a player capable of improving his midfield on the books at Old Trafford. Sadly, his fellow Scot Darren Flecther hasn't featured in the United first-team since Boxing Day last year due to illness. On a positive note, the Scotland captain is working with the squad once more at Carrington, also appearing in a number of games for the club's under-21 side in recent weeks, completing 90 minutes on Monday night against Blackburn. Still only 29, he has the capabilities and experience to strengthen the much-criticised central midfield area at Man United.