Transfer news: Manchester United cool on signing Real Madrid's smoking, work-shy Fabio Coentrao

The wing-back has not played for more than two months because of a thigh injury sustained on international duty for Portugal

The Manchester United manager, David Moyes, appears to have doubts over whether to sign Real Madrid's Fabio Coentrao. The Portuguese wing-back has started only four games since the Scot tried to secure him on loan last summer and is the source of increasing scepticism in Spain.

Real Madrid do appear to be willing to release Coentrao and the player's agent, Jorge Mendes, is using his strong United connections to push for the move. But Real coach Carlo Ancelotti's pessimism about such a deal taking place reflects the doubts of the United manager.

Coentrao has not played for more than two months because of a thigh injury sustained on international duty for Portugal against Sweden. Moyes denied that Mendes' presence in Manchester on Tuesday night meant a deal was imminent, though the player is understood to be as keen as Real for him to move to Old Trafford.

Ancelotti said that "hopefully he [Coentrao] will be back playing next week. No one is going out and no one is coming in. We have a very good squad." By the time United came in for Coentrao on transfer-deadline day in the summer, when Everton refused to sell Leighton Baines, his designated replacement – Granada's Guilherme Siqueira – had left on loan for Benfica, leaving the Spaniards unwilling to leave themselves short.

But Coentrao was not used by Ancelotti until late September and the injury has subsequently limited his season to five weeks.

The decision of Jose Mourinho, who is also represented by Mendes, to pay Benfica €30m (£24.8m) for Coentrao ranks as one of the oddest during his period at the Bernabeu, given that the player's spell on loan from Benfica at Real Zaragoza in 2008 was unsuccessful.

The left–sided player has a reputation in Spain for not being one of the best trainers and was briefly dropped by Mourinho last season after being caught smoking in public.

 

Moyes' doubts about Coentrao – who is a utility player rather than an outstanding defender or wide attacker – seem to be sound, rather than a manifestation of the indecision for which he is often characterised. Despite a Capital One Cup semi-final defeat at Sunderland taking their losing run to three games, the situation remains that United will not be rushed in the transfer window this month and are ready to wait until the summer to undertake the radical rebuild required.

The club's striker Danny Welbeck said in the aftermath of the 2-1 defeat on Wearside that the squad cannot "rely" on complaints about refereeing decisions to explain their failings – as both Moyes and player-coach Ryan Giggs did late on Tuesday. There are no excuses.

"We haven't had much luck in recent weeks with penalties given, and those we thought we should have had, but we can't just look at that," Welbeck said. "You cannot rely on that to help us. We have to up our game and our performances as a team. I cannot pinpoint one thing why this is happening. We were champions last season and we know that the consistency in our game has not been good enough. It is a new experience for us all but the main thing we have to do is look at the next game."

The 23-year-old, who was isolated against Sunderland, with Moyes not bringing Javier Hernandez off the bench until the 87th minute, said that supporters' concerns about United failing to make next season's Champions League were valid. "I can understand why fans are concerned. We are not around the Champions League spots at the moment. We need to get our form back and just win the next matches," he said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?