Manchester United manager David Moyes could be forced to make an emergency signing, with midfielder Michael Carrick could be sidelined for a month.
This would serve as a huge blow to the Champions, who are already out of all domestic cup competitions and out of title race as well.
Carrick suffered ankle ligament damage during Wednesday’s Capital One Cup defeat by Sunderland, which might prompt Moyes to reinforce the midfield department before the transfer deadline day.
According to The Telegraph, Carrick is expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks with injury. Marouane Fellaini is close to first-team return following surgery to his wrist problems, but the Belgian probably won’t be fit enough to face Cardiff next week.
United were linked with midfielders such as William Carvalho of Sporting Lisbon, Ilkay Gundogan of Borussia Dortmund, Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal of Juventus and Marek Hamsik of Napoli, but all these targets are largely unattainable in mid-season.
The Times says that Inter Milan midfielder Fredy Guarin, who was also a target of Chelsea, may be a more realistic target but the Italian club may ask for Javier Hernandez in return.
Meanwhile Juan Mata remained in London last night but he is expected to undergo a medical in Manchester today before signing a 4½-year contract with the Barclays Premier League champions. The Spaniard should be able to make his league debut for the Red Devils against Cardiff City at Old Trafford on Tuesday.