Given Manchester United's current predicament the news that Nemanja Vidic will miss the remainder of the season is a huge blow for the club. I think the best solution to address United's current failings, and the serious injury suffered by their captain, is to go into the transfer market.
I know Sir Alex Ferguson sometimes says that January isn't the ideal time to go out and locate value in the market but plenty of clubs have made use of the winter window in the past. There will be players out there who are unsettled because they have fallen out with their coach, or seeking a move to a big club, and United should strike while the iron is hot.
United need reinforcing in key areas: central defence, central midfield and in wide areas. It is abundantly clear they need some attacking impetus in midfield, and have done all season, to be honest.
An injection of quality in January might ignite United and allow them to rein in Manchester City at the top of the table but, at present, the Premier League is City's to lose. It will take a big effort from United to retain their crown.
If no money is made available in January, or Ferguson opts not to spend it, then United's prospects for the rest of the season will not be great. They will have to dig deeper than they did last season. Just grinding results out will not be enough as City look in tremendous shape.
To go and win games away from home when you are not playing well you need a figure like Cristiano Ronaldo or Wayne Rooney. Of course they no longer have Ronaldo, while Rooney hasn't scored in eight league games and is very much off the boil. Nani is doing what Nani usually does - blow hot and cold - and United are crying out for match-winners.
They need a bit of edge. Okay, Tom Cleverley might provide some when he returns from injury but I still think they need to go out and buy quality.
United have got problems. Their experienced players like Evra and Ferdinand have not been up to scratch and the younger players have not been given the guidance they need from their senior team-mates. We are much more likely to see Jones getting the senior pros out of trouble at the moment, rather than the other way round.
Sir Alex has lost some great, great players down the years - the likes of Cantona, Keane and Schmeichel - but they have always been replaced and the club have moved on to win things. However, I think Paul Scholes has been missed more than any other player in the past 20 years. They just haven't replaced him.
In that midfield there has been no clarity, no consistency, no continuity, no creativity. Scholes departing has left a huge chasm in the United team that is yet to be filled. They chose not to sign a like-for-like replacement in the summer and are probably regretting that decision.
Of course, they could never have anticipated the serious knee injury suffered by Vidic. They weren't exactly stable with him in defence but he was their shining light at the back and the influential Serb must now be replaced for the remainder of the campaign. However, there doesn't appear to be an obvious option.
United's lack of strength in midfield has meant they have had to push Phil Jones forward, while Rio Ferdinand's form and injury problems are persistent cause for concern and Jonny Evans has been under par.
Furthermore, if you look at United in the full-back areas, for the first time they are lacking there as well, which is why Chris Smalling has had to play out wide as well. They have two Brazilian lads in Rafael and Fabio who are injury-prone and, when they do take the field, they struggle with their discipline.
These are concerning times indeed for Fergie and his side as they contemplate a second half of the season without their influential skipper. A January signing would ease the nerves to a considerable degree.