The fallout from Manchester United’s botched summer transfer window is continuing, with the club’s failed attempts to lure a left-back now in focus. David Moyes pursued his former left-back at Everton, Leighton Baines, throughout the summer, but failed to pry the England international away from Goodison Park.
Having made a £12 million bid before submitting a derisorily low joint bid involving Marouane Fellaini, United were finally forced to concede defeat when Everton rejected a £15 million offer on deadline day. Everton remained firm in their stance, despite reports that Baines was keen on a move to Old Trafford. With United potentially set to return for the England international in January, Everton are ready to offer Baines an improved contract, according to The Guardian.
Baines, who will have turned 29 by the time of the next transfer window, has two years remaining on his current deal. It will surely come under consideration for United, though, that Baines's age makes a big-money transfer increasingly unjustifiable.
Having missed out on Baines, United made an attempt bring in Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao on loan. The Portugal international’s desire to leave the Bernabeu had been known for some time, however the Premier League champions left their move so late that Madrid were no longer able to secure their lined-up replacement Guilherme Siqueira.
The breakdown of the deal appears to have upset Coentrao with the left-back in tears while on international duty, according to Portuguese publication Record. But TalkSport reports that United will not revive their interest in Coentrao in January.
Manchester United’s determination to sign a left-back this summer has always been somewhat baffling. Patrice Evra has returned to form in the past season and is currently one of the best in his position in the Premier League. Neither Baines or Coentrao would have any intention of coming in and playing second fiddle to the France international. While Evra is now aged 32, Baines hardly represents someone who can hold down the position at Old Trafford for years to come.
There is also the fact that United have two players to back-up Evra, with Fabio returning from his loan spell at Queens Park Rangers to join Alexander Buttner. The Dutchman’s agent has joined the long list of detractors of United’s dealings in the transfer window and revealed that Buttner does not feel trusted by Moyes. Indeed Voetbal International has claimed that a loan deal was arranged with Besiktas before the Coentrao move fell through.
"It's unbelievable that Coentrao was not signed on time and, whether that is an error on the part of Real or United doesn't matter,” Alexsandar Bursac told the Dutch publication.
"We have received assurances of a loan. Alex is not necessarily looking for a guarantee of playing time, but he does not want to spend the entire season on the bench."
“Under Sir Alex Ferguson, Buttner was the up and coming man. He started playing in more games and was trusted in training. That sense of trust is not there now."
Perhaps the biggest disappointment for Moyes during his first transfer window as United boss was that his very public pursuit of Cesc Fabregas ended empty handed. Despite almost everyone in the game believing that Fabregas would remain at Barcelona for another season, United made more than one bid for the former Arsenal captain. And Fabregas has now reiterated that he was never interested in a move.
"I would not have moved for double the money," Fabregas told The Sun. "Nor triple. No. I've paid out of my pocket to play for Barça. I earned more at Arsenal. There are dreams and this was mine since I was a child.
"United never spoke with me. Obviously when a club wants you they have to do it with the club and they don't necessarily have to speak to the player. I always said that I hadn't spoken to anyone -- and the only thing in my head was to be a success at Barcelona.
"The truth is United made official offers and it became known in public. I know there are other places where they give you more money. But at no time did I think of leaving."
Meanwhile, there have also been conflicting reports about Manchester United’s interest in Mesut Ozil. The former Real Madrid attacking midfielder went to Arsenal on deadline day, but several outlets claimed that United made a late attempt to try and snare him. According to The Guardian, United are bemused by that suggestion as they rejected the chance to sign Ozil when he was offered to them three weeks ago.