This summer’s transfer window so far has been a quiet one for Manchester United, despite the club’s attempts to make a high profile signing. The pursuit of playmaker Cesc Fabregas appears to have failed, with Barcelona holding firm on their statement that: “Whatever offer United make, however big, we will say no. Cesc Fabregas will stay a Barcelona player.” (Source: Telegraph).
Despite Barca’s insistence that the player will not be sold, rumours continue to circulate about Manchester United working on a potential transfer. This seems a foolish pursuit as it appears a near impossible transfer to pull off. United must also be wary that if a bid was to be accepted there is a real possibility of Arsenal utilising their first refusal transfer clause and re-signing their former captain – a disastrous scenario for United strengthening a Premier League rival.
The most sensible option for United is to admit defeat and turn their attention to new targets. A transfer target of the past Luka Modric is the latest player rumoured to be on the Red Devils’ shortlist. This again appears an unlikely transfer as despite being voted worst La Liga signing of 2012 the Croat’s form markedly improved during the second half of the season and he has since gone on record ruling out a move from Real Madrid this summer, despite interest from other clubs.
Options for United in the transfer market appear to be limited, with clubs either valuing their assets too highly or players simply not wanting to come to Old Trafford. It must be noted that this is the beginning of a new, uncertain era for Manchester United without the trusted guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm. This is one factor that the club has to tackle when attempting to convince targets to sign and play under a manager who has one second division trophy to his name and no Champions League experience
David Moyes has argued that: “If you’ve got any ambitions about being a footballer, and you’re a top-end one, then I think you’ll want to play for Manchester United.” (Source: SkySports). Whilst this is undoubtedly true considering the international pedigree of the club, the current transitional period at the club does make the prospect of moving to Old Trafford less attractive than when Ferguson was in charge.
If Moyes statement is true it must be asked why United are yet to sign any proven, world class talent to improve the side. The fact that United did not even put forward an offer for Thiago Alcantara seems bizarre; Manchester United would have signed one of the brightest young talents in Europe fresh from captaining his country’s Under 21s, Barca were willing to let the player leave and the price was only £21.6 million – an important factor considering the inflation of the market this summer.
United will now have to either bite the bullet and pay a highly inflated price for the attacking midfielder they desire, or attempt to salvage their relationship with Wayne Rooney and reintegrate him into the side. The alternative to these two options is to play Shinji Kagawa in his preferred number 10 position and focus on improving the side in other areas such as an heir to Michael Carrick or Patrice Evra and possibly a winger to replace the seemingly outgoing Nani.
It could be argued that Manchester United would be better off steering clear of marquee signings as they will surely have to overpay in a similar fashion to their neighbours Manchester City who have already racked up nearly £100 million on only four players – one of which has only played in Brazil and Ukraine, representing a considerable risk for The Citizens.
Whoever David Moyes and chief negotiator Ed Woodward sign this summer, the fact is that Manchester United won the league at a canter last season and if they can maintain that level of performance once again you would back them to repeat this feat. The most important factor for United is arguably keeping the current squad together and ensuring that Robin van Persie remains fit and firing. If these two targets can be achieved the title could well be coming to Old Trafford once again without the addition of Fabregas or Modric.
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