The Glazer family, United’s American owners, have told Moyes they will back him on any signing he wants to make either this month or in the summer, providing they are not simply short-term fixes.

After months of intensive scouting around Europe, Moyes is understood to have handed United’s hierarchy a list of targets that includes Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke, Borussia Dortmund pair Marco Reus and Ilkay Gundogan, Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala and Southampton’s Luke Shaw.

But Moyes’ dilemma is that while he desperately wants to make one or two signings this month, none of his targets is likely to become available until the summer when he may well be left with the task of buying half-a-dozen new players.

Neither Moyes nor United’s board are understood to want to blow money on panic-buys or short-term fixes having got their fingers burned by the £27.5m deadline-day signing of Marouane Fellaini, who has had a disastrous start at United.

That means Moyes is bracing himself to have to rely on the current squad to ensure United – currently seventh – finish in the top four and qualify for next season’s Champions League. Failure to do so would make attracting world-class players even more difficult as well as denting United’s revenue streams.