Manchester United’s disastrous season took another turn for the worse with a comprehensive defeat against rivals Liverpool on Sunday and there could be further bad news in store this summer.
Despite a dreadful first term in charge, which sees the Premier League champions languishing in seventh place in the table, the word coming out of Old Trafford is that David Moyes will remain in charge and be given the responsibility to overhaul the squad in the offseason. The club has already suggested that several players will leave and significant funds will be made available to bring in the quality required to revamp the team.
However, with all hope of a top-four berth in the league realistically extinguished at the weekend and only a blissfully deluded romantic believing that United can win the Champions League, the club will be unable to offer their targets a place in the world’s premier club competition next season. As a result, despite the pulling power of the club, United could again be frustrated in the transfer market as they were in Moyes’s first two windows in charge.
One of the players to turn them down, according to the Daily Mirror, will be Juventus’s Paul Pogba. Moyes is said to be keen to bring the midfielder back to Old Trafford on the back of his flourishing form since joining the Italians from United in the summer of 2012. Yet the Mirror claims that the France international is set on the idea of joining Real Madrid instead.
The midfield is Moyes’s main focus for strengthening his squad, with Atletico Madrid’s Koke also believed to be a target. The 22-year-old has played a major role in Atletico’s superb season, scoring five goals and contributing 12 assists. And the Spain international has revealed that he has no desire to part from Atletico or manager Diego Simeone in the near future.
"I have a long contract and I am not thinking about leaving," he told Minuto 116, according to Talksport. "Atletico is my home. I am happy that Simeone has confidence in me and I want to keep working for him for many years."
Other speculation in recent days suggests Manchester United have widened their net and are taking a close look at two young Germany internationals. The Daily Star has claimed an exclusive story that United scouted Schalke starlet Julian Draxler in his team’s 2-1 win over Augsburg last Friday. Long regarded as one of Europe’s top prospects, the attacking midfielder was the subject of a failed pursuit by Arsenal in the January transfer window. The 20-year-old has a release clause of €45 million (£37.7m) and Schalke are believed to be unwilling to sell the player unless their hand is forced by it being met.
United are also said to be rivaling Arsenal for Freiburg center-back Matthias Ginter. With Nemanja Vidic’s departure from Old Trafford already confirmed for this summer and Rio Ferdinand expected to follow suit, a new central defender looks certain to be on the agenda. According to the Daily Mirror, both United and Arsenal have scouted Ginter in recent weeks. The 20-year-old made his debut for Germany against Chile earlier this month and has also shown his versatility by operating in midfield on several occasions this season.