Manchester United began to banish the memories of their woeful start to last season with a victory over Tottenham on Saturday to kick off the new Premier League campaign. Yet after a performance that had even manager Louis van Gaal admitting his side were “lucky,” there continues to be plenty of speculation that United’s summer transfer business is far from at an end.
The biggest story from United’s opening match concerned a player who may yet make his way out of Old Trafford. David de Gea watched on from the stands after Van Gaal stated that the Spain goalkeeper wasn’t in the right frame of mind to play following continued speculation over a transfer to Real Madrid. And afterward the veteran coach revealed that the situation could go on for some time yet.
“Of course [De Gea could stay],” he said in a press conference. “We have to pay a lot of money for the players we want so we want to sell at the same level when we have to sell. We want to keep him, of course. He has been voted the best player here for the last two years.
“We have observed in preparation and that was not the same David de Gea as last year. Of course when the situation has been cleared after September 1 we will look again.”
Although new signing Sergio Romero deputized on Saturday, with Victor Valdes and Anders Lindegaard set to exit, De Gea’s departure would likely leave United looking for a replacement. Foremost among their targets is thought to be the man Van Gaal made his No. 1 with the Netherlands, Jasper Cillessen. However, United could find it increasingly difficult to prize the 24-year-old away from Ajax the longer the De Gea saga rumbles on.
“Man United will have to pay huge price for Cillessen,” Ajax manager Frank de Boer said, reports the Daily Mirror. “Let it be clear that we are going to take a really strong attitude and we will fight against him leaving at this stage.
“Why? Because we have seen all our three alternatives go out of sight and it gets harder and harder to find a decent replacement. To make it clear, Jasper is getting more expensive by the week, although there are certain figures that we can't turn down.”
Manchester United could also experience complications completing a deal that appeared to be as good as done. Pedro is still expected to complete a 30 million euros (£21.2 million) move from Barcelona to become the effective replacement for the recently departed Ángel di María . But with Barcelona forward Neymar out for two weeks with the mumps, the Catalans could try and keep Pedro around for their attempts to win the Spanish and European Super Cups. Pedro is set to take the field in the UEFA version against Sevilla on Tuesday, although manager Luis Enrique refused to be drawn on the player’s future beyond that.
“Now there is too much talk about Pedro,” he said, reports Spanish sports daily AS. “The solution will come soon because the transfer market closes soon.”
There could be a further issue to overcome for United, with Barcelona-based outlet Mundo Deportivo reporting that Manchester City have made a late move to try and bring Pedro to the blue half of Manchester.
Still, The Sun claims that Pedro will still land at Old Trafford later this week, while the tabloid also reports that a surprising £17.5 million transfer for Lazio’s Lucas Biglia is set to be completed. The 29-year-old, who moved to the Italian capital from Anderlecht two years ago is certainly a solid performer in the holding role for both club and hiss country Argentina. However, with Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger already snapped up this summer, he would not appear to fill a particular need at Old Trafford.
More of a priority is surely reinforcing in attack. Beyond Wayne Rooney, Van Gaal’s only options are Javier “Chicharito” Hernández , who may yet depart and James Wilson, who has yet to prove himself at the top level. With that in mind, the Daily Mirror reports that Manchester United have made “discreet enquiries” about Tottenham front man Harry Kane.
The 22-year-old scored 31 goals in a stunning breakthrough campaign last season which also saw him score on his England debut. But, barring a stunning offer, there would appear to be little prospect of Tottenham allowing Kane to move on, especially at this late stage.