Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is paying special attention to how he will bolster his left-back options this season.
United have been linked with Everton's Leighton Baines for most of the summer, although as yet it is not believed they have made a bid for the 27-year-old.
Ferguson's transfer policy in recent years does not suggest he would invest quite so much in a back-up to Patrice Evra, but following Fabio's loan move to QPR, Ferguson said: "It is an area we're paying attention to."
He explained: "In the last five years Patrice has played an average of 45-50 games, which is phenomenal. I don't know if anybody else has achieved that.
"He's still a fit lad. He is a fighter and has the same drive and ambition.
"But because he is never injured the opportunities haven't been there for Fabio, who needs to play because he has enormous ability. With him at QPR for a year, we are a little bit short in that department."
Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Robbie Brady will be given first chance to impress in Wednesday's opening pre-season game against AmaZulu in Durban, while England Under-19 star Tyler Blackett could also be involved at some stage.
Yet Evra is fancied to be the man in possession by the time United open their Premier League campaign against Everton at Goodison Park.
Whether £30.75million record signing Dimitar Berbatov is still a team-mate then is open to question.
The Bulgarian is in South Africa but, with club and player accepting a move is the only way forward, his agent has urged AC Milan to make a move. "Dimitar likes Serie A and would be happy to discuss a move [to AC Milan]," Emil Dantchev said.