Manchester United have virtually no choice but to strengthen in January after their 4-0 drubbing by Chelsea.
The result was one thing, the scoreline another, but Jose Mourinho’s side also paid a heavy price for their afternoon outing at Stamford Bridge.
As reported by the Mirror, Eric Bailly is now set for a spell on the sidelines after sustaining what Mourinho described to reporters as “bad” knee ligament damage, though he was seen walking after the game.
Whether the Ivorian will be out for weeks or months is still unknown as United await the results of a scan, but they must already be examining their options.
The centre-back was taken off in the 52nd minute and replaced with the ever-unpopular Marcus Rojo, which says a lot about their lack of depth. Add the awful performances of Chris Smalling and Daley Blind into the equation and it’s clear United’s defence has been neglected.
Bailly was perhaps United’s only saving grace, but even regardless of his injury, they will be without him in January when he heads to the African Cup of Nations.
It’s unlikely the Red Devils are going to splash out again on a world-class talent like Leonardo Bonucci, who is being linked with Chelsea and Manchester City in January. Cheaper options, however, include Jose Fonte of Southampton, or former player Michael Keane of Burnley.
In short, Mourinho has got to do something. The Portuguese has lost his aura of invincibility, and is now completely reliant on his players to do their talking on the pitch.
As it stands, United look set to miss out on the top four again, and that is something the Special One just can’t allow in his first season at the helm.