Relegation strugglers Fulham could be the unintended beneficiaries of Manchester United’s continued search for a left back.
The champions are in real danger of failing to reach the Champions League – with a top four finish now priced at 3/1 for the Red Devils – and new boss David Moyes has highlighted the position currently held down by Patrice Evra as a priority.
While United have been linked with a host of targets – including Leighton Baines, Luke Shaw and Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao – the Cottagers will be hoping that any moves in to Old Trafford will mean that either Alex Buttner or Fabio become available.
With the latter failing to impress on loan at Fulham’s neighbours QPR last term Meulensteen will hope that Buttner will fancy a trip to the capital to help stave off relegation, with Fulham just one point above the drop zone and priced at 10/11 to fall through the trap door.
Evra is arguably the main cause for concern at United and a new signing is likely to mean a return to his native France in the summer, with the effects of such a move potentially triggering further activity involving his understudies.
Buttner, however, would not take kindly to being demoted to third choice and having worked with Meulensteen last season would take little time to settle in at Craven Cottage.
John Arne Riise is currently occupying the slot for the Cottagers, but at 33-years-of age he is not the force he once was and a move away from west London has been mooted in recent months.
Former Manchester United winger Kieran Richardson filled in at left back last week at the Emirates Stadium, highlighting a lack of faith in emerging talent Matthew Briggs.
And while Buttner has rarely looked like making the grade in a Manchester United shirt a Man of the Match display in his debut against Wigan – in which he bagged his first Premier League goal – showed that he can play at this level and the Dutchman would relish an extended run of games.
Fellow countryman Meulensteen has his work cut out to prolong Fulham’s stay in the top flight so expect the former United assistant to call in the favours this month to bolster his faltering squad.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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