• Hoping to get him for less than his €36m release clause
• United want no repeat of embarrassing summer scenes
David Moyes is considering returning for Athletic Bilbao's Ander Herrera in the January transfer window, with the Manchester United manager conscious he has to strengthen his midfield resources.
If Moyes were to move again for the 24-year-old he may hope to prise him from Bilbao for less than his €36m (£29.9m) buyout clause as the player has struggled to reclaim his form in the early part of the Spanish season.
A deal to buy Herrera in the summer failed after United refused to pay the fee with the Basque club unwilling to lower the price due, in part, to their policy of only fielding players from the region.
Given the farce on the closing day of the last window which featured three Spanish lawyers, Rodrigo García Lucas, Alvaro Reig Gurrea and Guillermo Gutiérrez being photographed entering Spanish league offices apparently acting for United – subsequently denied by the club – if Moyes does attempt to prise Herrera away again, he and Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman, would have to be confident of success.
But Wednesday evening's 1-0 defeat to Everton that left United 12 points behind the leaders, Arsenal, plus the disappointing start to the career of the £27.5m summer signing, Marouane Fellaini, will have concentrated minds at Old Trafford regarding recruitment in the winter window.