The Manchester United squad has been shown to be lacking in depth and quality over the past season as summer signings have failed to make an impact and injury problems have ravaged the side. We take a look at 3 possible January signings that could improve the lot of the Red Devils.

Louis van Gaal is having a terrible time at Old Trafford, the results that he is churning out are far from inspiring and the players that he has signed have made an underwhelming impact on the proceedings thus far. If the Dutchman is to survive as the manager of Manchester United, then he will have to make a few really good signings in the January transfer window to lift the spirits at the club.

While Manchester United have been linked with a number of the best players in the world, it will be a difficult task to bring the likes of Lewandowski, Bale and Muller to United, especially with the team playing so badly. But the Red Devils are one of the biggest clubs in the world and we take a look at 3 players who might be enticed to make the move to Old Trafford this January.

1. Alexandre Pato

While he may have fallen off the radar a little bit, he was a highly rated player in the eyes of fans and pundits during his time at AC Milan. From the 2008-09 season to 2011, he was touted as the next big striker to come out of Brazil. Back then Pato was just in his early 20’s but injury problems and lack of form had forced him out of the European picture. Now though, the 26-year-old seems to be having a good run of form down in Brazil and has been linked with a move back to the hallowed grounds of European football.

Pato has already expressed his desire to leave his club and a move to Manchester United in January would definitely interest him. With summer signing Anthony Martial failing to make good on all the hype and old workhorse Wayne Rooney a mere shadow of his former self, Pato could well see himself making an entry into the first team picture and would slot in perfectly as the central striker. He will strengthen the attack with his natural ability on the ball and goal-scoring capabilities.

Cost of the Deal:- 20 Million Euros .

Transfermarkt rate the Brazilian at 11 Million Euros, but Manchester United could well have to pay more to land the player given his reputation and interest from other top clubs, most significant of whom is Chelsea FC.

Likelihood of the Deal:- 5/10

If Manchester United persuade the player seriously they have a strong likelihood of securing the player. United are facing the kind of attacking woes that could attract someone like Pato to the club, as he will believe he has a strong chance of regular first team action if he performs well.

2. Toni Kroos

The 25-year-old attacking midfielder was brought to Real Madrid after his exploits at the FIFA 2014 World Cup with the German national team, but has failed to make the mark that he would have wanted in an already star-studded midfield. He is reportedly unhappy at the Santiago Bernabeu and given the fact that he has long held the interest of Manchester United, a deal could be in the making this January.

Kroos will be a welcome addition to a midfield that includes his German captain Bastian Schweinsteiger and the two could possibly form a strong partnership in the midfield. This will ease pressure off old workhorse Michael Carrick and provide some healthy competition for Frenchman Morgan Schneiderlin. Kroos is an excellent passer of the ball, has the vision to set up attacks and his technical ability is top notch.

Cost of the Deal:- 40 Million Euros

Kroos jumped ship from Bayern Munich to Real Madrid for 30 Million Euros in 2014, but Real will be looking to make a profit for a player who is just on the verge of reaching his peak years.

Likelihood of the Deal:- 4/10

If, as the reports are saying, Kroos is actually unhappy at the Bernabeu then Manchester United have the chance to step in and sign the player. But at the same time he is contracted there till the year 2020, so the ball is firmly in Real Madrid’s court.

3. John Stones

John Stones is one of the most wanted men in Europe right now and Manchester United will be joining a race that includes the likes of Chelsea and Barcelona, among others, who want to lure the Everton center-back away from Everton as soon as possible.

Stones has shone in his central defence position and is being touted as one of the mainstays in the English team for years to come. The prospect of signing him will be one that most Red Devils fans will be salivating over, as this would mean he would slot in defence alongside Chris Smalling, filling in a problematic hole that has been bothering the club ever since the departure of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. A defensive backbone for both club and country, Stones and Smalling would ensure that United’s defence would be one of the best in the Premier league.

The 21-year-old, apart from being a solid defender, is also a good player of the ball so he could prove crucial to setting up attacks from the back, and United need all the attacking help that they can get.

Cost of the Deal:- 50 Million Euros

John Stones remained at Everton despite Chelsea reportedly launching a bid in excess of 40 million Euros for him last summer. Manchester United will have to pay a huge amount of money to land the defender, given the interest that he has attracted from top clubs.

Likelihood of the Deal:- 2/10

Everton holding on to Stones last summer is a statement of intent and, with the player signed to the club till 2019, Manchester United will have a tough time trying to persuade the club to let go of one of the brightest young prospects and key players of their squad.