Manchester United have defended their transfer activity over the summer, despite much criticism from fans and media alike. Marouane Fellaini’s arrival on deadline-day was the only major signing during the summer, with public bids for several players being rejected. But an open letter from director of communications Phil Townsend claimed that the club had achieved their objectives.
"The club had two main priorities for the transfer window,” it reads, according to the Daily Mirror. “The first was to keep Wayne Rooney. He is a world-class player and the manager is very keen to have Wayne as a key part of the club's drive to retain the Premier League trophy. That was fulfilled.
"The second was to add a midfield player, and the capture of Fellaini has met that need.
"Add to that the fact that Wilfried Zaha is a new signing and that the manager has added the highly-rated young player Adnan Januzaj to the squad and the team does in fact have a different feel to it than the one that finished last season.”
Still, with reports that David Moyes has already begun assessing targets ahead of the reopening of the transfer window, it could be that United’s team is altered further in January. Moyes’s comments about Bayer Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League meeting with the German side have sparked predictable speculation.
“In all the years I was at Everton, I followed him all the time,” Moyes said of Kiessling to Sport Bild. "But the money was sadly lacking. I have great respect for him. He is a great player who is strong with his head and his feet."
Kiessling finished as the Bundesliga’s top scorer last season with 25 goals and has already found the net four times in just five games this campaign. Still, it is unlikely that the now 29-year-old will be snapped up by a major European power at this stage of his career.
For a long time Manchester United have been linked to the man who finished second to Kiessling in last season’s Bundesliga scoring charts, Robert Lewandowski. The striker seems all-but certain to join Bayern Munich on a free transfer next summer when his Borussia Dortmund contract expires. However, the Daily Express believes comments from the Poland international’s agent about talks with Napoli will renew confidence in United that Lewandowski could still be up for grabs.
“Napoli on Lewandowski? I cannot tell you how long I spoke with [Napoli president] Aurelio De Laurentiis,” Raffaelle Auriemma is reported to have said. “It must remain between us. But I can tell you that we have recently had contact.
"What do I think of Napoli? They are a tough team to handle. Nobody thinks they can win the Champions League, but they have a very good coach in Rafael Benitez, good management and very competitive players."
It seems all-but certain that those talks occurred in the summer, before Napoli signed Gonzalo Higuain. It would also appear likely that Napoli were knocked back because of Lewandowski’s determination to join Bayern, meaning that the player’s situation has not changed.
United have also been mentioned in connection with two of England’s brightest young prospects in recent days. That the Premier League champions have been linked to Ross Barkley is no surprise given that Moyes gave the 19-year-old his debut at Everton. The Daily Star claims that United are set to battle it out with Chelsea to land the midfielder, who recently made his debut for England. He is said to be valued at £20 million, though Everton may even look for an increase on that figure.
Meanwhile, Goal.com is the latest source to report on United’s interest in Southampton left-back Luke Shaw. The story claims that United hope to steel a march on their rivals -- Chelsea And Arsenal -- for the 18-year-old’s signature. Moyes made failed attempts to bring in left-backs Leighton Baines and Fabio Coentrao during the summer and Shaw, already established in Southampton’s first team, may well be seen as the long-term replacement for 32-year-old Patrice Evra.