In all the dark clouds gathered over Old Trafford, there have been the silver linings.
From that Silver Linings Playbook must come Chris Smalling at centreback.
Smalling’s performance again Sunderland was masterful and Vidic-like in the manner in which he threw himself at everything that was launched at United.
And a lot was launched at United.
Like at Chelsea, when the midfield performed and the defence crumbled, Smalling’s heroics were denied their rightful praise by David De Gea’s game-costing fumble.
Chris Smalling and Johnny Evans at centreback looks like the future for United, with Phil Jones to develop in a Mascherano-type role in front of them.
If Vidic is on his way out, then Patrice Evra cannot be far behind.
His defensive liability versus attacking prowess is no more balancing in United’s favour.
Therefore, David Moyes has to steal one more from Chelsea (let us believe Juan Mata, even at 37 million pounds is a steal).
Luke Shaw from Southampton will complete a more than decent January window for Moyes and defensive steel is what Shaw will bring to the Red Devils.
Chelsea, if the UK media reports are to be believed, are still favourites to sign Shaw, though United remain very much in the hunt.
With Shaw in the team Moyes can be free to stop plugging the wingback position with Valencia, or having to play Smalling there.
Jose Mourinho may not be in the mood to do United any more favours and Ashley Cole’s tweet, about Shaw “looking good in Chelsea’s back four”, might suggest this one will Mata more to Chelsea.