David Moyes’s quest to bolster a long-neglected Manchester United midfield has thus far been a frustrating one in his first summer in charge at Old Trafford. Believed to want two midfielders to bring both physicality and creativity to the key center of the side, Moyes finds himself empty handed just a few days before the start of the Premier League season.
The former Everton boss was disappointed by failed moves for Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas but there appears to have been little movement on adding a more defensive presence. A man he knows well, Marouane Fellaini has long looked an obvious candidate. Still, despite the presence of a £23 million release clause that ran until the end of July, there was no bid from the Premier League champions. The Guardian reports, though, that Moyes is now considering making an offer to Everton, likely hoping to be able to negotiate a fee lower than the previous buyout clause.
It may also be that Moyes was apprehensive about making his first big signing since stepping into Sir Alex Ferguson’s office a player from his former club and perhaps aiding a narrative that he couldn’t attract big names. Fellaini has certainly proved a reliable Premier League performer since moving to Merseyside for £15 million, and his physicality has been particularly effective against his potential new employers in recent seasons. Talksport has claimed that Everton will demand £30 million for the Belgium international, a price that it is hard to imagine United matching.
United may also be apprehensive about meeting the valuation of another of their reported targets, Geoffrey Kondogbia. The 19-year-old only joined Sevilla last year but capped an impressive debut season in La Liga by helping France to lift the Under-20 World Cup. According to The Guardian, Moyes sought the opportunity to have a closer look at the former Lens man during Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial when Sevilla were the opponents last Friday. But Sevilla have insisted that Kondogbia, who is also thought to be a target for Real Madrid and Arsenal, will not be sold this summer unless his buyout clause is met.
“Kondogbia is off the market," Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido said. "But whoever wants him has to pay his €20m clause (£17.1m), plus VAT. But please, any team that tries to sign him -- don’t. We will consider it an attack. I’ve already reached an agreement with [the company that owns half the player’s rights] Doyen and Kondogbia will not be leaving this summer."
There has also been further comment from a midfielder long-linked with a move to Old Trafford. Juventus’s Claudio Marchisio is thought to have been on Moyes’s wanted to list to add attacking thrust to United’s midfield. But, despite reports that his position was uncertain earlier in the summer, the Italy international has reiterated that he has no intention of leaving the Italian champions.
"I am staying here,” he said, according to Talksport. “I am happy at Juventus, but the fact that rumors keep emerging around me every summer is starting to get on my nerves.”