Manchester United unexpectedly find themselves in the Premier League title race – and the January transfer window suddenly takes on a new level of importance.
Few expected the Red Devils to be genuine contenders to dethrone rivals Liverpool at the top of the table but they could begin 2021 by moving level on points at the top with victory over Aston Villa.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been reluctant to admit his side are in a title race at this stage of the season but excitement is starting to build around Old Trafford.
As a result, they face a big January transfer window knowing one or two additions could make a huge difference in a season of fine margins.
According to The Telegraph, Solskjaer considers signing a centre-back to be the priority for United ahead of the January window.
And that appears to indicate he agrees with club legend Gary Neville over the one player who can take them to the title.
Earlier this season, with all eyes on United’s failure to land Jadon Sancho, Neville stated it as a new type of defender that needed to be their priority.
“We can talk about [Jadon] Sancho all we like but until United get a centre back who can run and defend one-on-ones they are never going to win the league,” the ex-United defender said back in September.
“They are never going to win the Premier League with that centre back pairing,” he added.
“They have to get a mobile, dominant centre half in alongside either Lindelof or Maguire.
“Over the years, the best centre back partnerships have always had that really quick one who has lightning pace to get across and snuff out the danger. Lindelof and Maguire just don’t have that.”
The re-emergence of Eric Bailly, putting in a strong showing against Wolves in midweek, could give Solskjaer a new dimension defensively.
But, with Victor Lindelof struggling with injuries, a new face could also be on the cards.
And Neville will hope they find the right man to get them over the line in what promises to be a tight and dramatic Premier League title race decided by fine margins.