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.

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
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

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all