David Moyes has returned to his former club, Everton, in order to try and complete his first real transfer business as Manchester United manager. Bids for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini have long been expected and they finally arrived in recent days with United offering £28 million for the pair, who were pivotal in Moyes’s success in recent seasons at Goodison Park. As predictable as the Premier League’s champions’ interest was the response from Everton. The bid, which valued Fellaini at £16 million and Baines at £12 million was called “insulting and derisory” by the Merseyside club.
Everton are thought to value Baines at closer to £20 million, while Fellaini had a release clause in his contract, which expired at the end of July, worth £23 million. Indeed, the offer from the Belgian midfielder is particularly low given that he was signed for around £15 million from Standard Liege five years ago and is now entering his prime having proven himself in the Premier League. Certainly Everton were not impressed, either with the value of the offer or, it appears the timing, on the eve of the new season.
“Everton can confirm that it has received bids from Manchester United for two players,” read a statement on Everton’s website from the club’s director of communications, Alan Myers. “Those bids were immediately rejected out of hand as derisory and insulting. The Club did not make public these details as it was vital Roberto Martinez’s preparations for the opening game of the Premier League season were not disrupted in anyway.”
It is likely that United were simply looking to test the waters with their opening bid, although what they believe would be achieved by agitating Everton is something of a mystery. Still, it would be a big surprise were an increased offer for the pair not to be forthcoming in the coming days.
If United do not secure Fellaini then they could yet add physical strength to their midfield by following up reported interest in Sevilla’s Geoffrey Kondogbia. After a good first season in La Liga, Kondogbia helped France to lift the Under-20 World Cup this summer. The 20-year-old has also been linked strongly with Real Madrid during the transfer window. However, after already losing Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo to Manchester City this summer, Sevilla have no intention of selling Kondogbia unless a massive offer is forthcoming.
"We want to have continuity at Sevilla,” manager Unai Emery said, according to Sky Sports. “I have spoken with the president [about Kondogbia] and only a big-money offer changes that idea."
Manchester United have also been linked with more forward-thinking midfielders. And with a deal for Cesc Fabregas appearing even more implausible than several weeks ago, United are thought to be keen on Real Madrid’s Luka Modric. The Daily Mirror has reports that the Croatian playmaker is keen to move to Old Trafford.
There has been talk that Modric could be a makeweight in any deal for Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, but it is said that, understandably, the 27-year-old would not be keen on rejoining his former club. Madrid are rumored to value Modric at £25 million.