Defeat to Bayern Munich to exit the Champions League on Wednesday means Manchester United’s season is now effectively over. There may be a month of the Premier League campaign remaining, but the prize of a Europa League place holds scant excitement for a club used to competing for the biggest trophies at a season’s climax. It means, with a squad overhaul widely anticipated, that thoughts will start turning in earnest to the business that will be done in the transfer market over the summer. Midfielder Darren Fletcher has admitted that several members of the squad are now playing not for glory but for their futures.
“Players have got to play well to stay in the manager's thoughts for next season -- it's as simple as that," he told MUTV. "There's talk of a lot of changes and who knows? If you get an opportunity to play you've got to go out there and perform, and show the manager that you want to be at United.”
Fletcher is certainly a player who could be at risk, with manager David Moyes believed to be keen to continue the revamping of his midfield, which got off to a less than glorious start last summer with the £27.5 million purchase of Marouane Fellaini.
Believed to be top of Moyes’s shopping list is Toni Kroos. The midfielder was part of the Bayern Munich side that dispensed with United and, according to the Daily Mirror, United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was set to stay in Munich after the match to arrange a deal to take him to Old Trafford in the summer. The report claims that United have put £40 million on the table, with Woodward attempting to convince Bayern to accept.
Kroos has yet to sign a contract to keep him at the club beyond the summer of 2015, although the Bundesliga champions have insisted that he will be staying for at least next season. Earlier this week, the Daily Mail even claimed that Kroos has told teammates that he wants to make the move to Old Trafford, although Bayern’s stance remains entrenched.
Another rumored Manchester United target whose contract has just over a year left to run is Roma’s Miralem Pjanic. The attacking midfielder has had a fine season in helping Roma to claim a Champions League place and has also been linked with Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, and Monaco. But the Bosnia international has insisted that he remains happy at Roma.
"Fans can be calm," he told Gazzetta dello Sport, according to Sky Sports. "My contract runs until 2015 and although I know that many big clubs are interested in me, I'm totally focused on Roma and everybody knows that.
"I talked with [coach] Rudi Garcia about all that and he knows that I'm only concentrated on my work. “A contract extension will come by itself. Many times I have said that I'm very happy at Roma."
Talksport believes Manchester United are interested in a more defensively minded midfielder. Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons has been strongly linked with Arsenal, as well as Napoli, but is now said to also be catching the attention of Moyes.
With doubts over the future of Javier Hernandez, a new striker could likewise be on the agenda for Moyes. While not top of his list of targets, the Daily Mail believes that Manchester United will take the opportunity to scout Porto front man Jackson Martinez this weekend. After hitting 26 league goals in his first season in Portugal last year, the Colombia international has found the net 18 times in the Primeira Liga this campaign. However, with Porto believed to unwilling to negotiate a fee that fails to meet his massive €40 million (£33 million) release clause, a deal to take him to Old Trafford looks unlikely.