After of summer of disappointment in the transfer market, David Moyes was always going to have a hectic January. And the Scot was certainly busy this weekend. After overseeing the ending of a three-match losing streak with a victory over Swansea City on Saturday, the Manchester United manager was in Sardinia the following day to watch Juventus’s victory over Cagliari and get a first-hand look at one, and perhaps more, prospective new signing.
Speculation has predictably gone into overdrive as to who Moyes was watching. The Daily Mirror is among the publications to believe that it was Cagliari’s Davide Astori who was the subject of Moyes’s glare. After beginning his career at Milan, the 27-year-old has been with Cagliari since 2008. He has also been a regular member of the Italy squad of late and went to the Confederations Cup last summer.
United could well be in need of a central defender in the near future. Rio Ferdinand has long been expected to leave when his contract expires in the summer and recent reports suggest that the club’s other experienced center-back Nemanja Vidic will follow suit. That would leave United relying on three defenders who have yet to regularly prove themselves at the highest level: Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.
It is likely, though, that Moyes was also running the rule over at least one Juventus midfielder. Manchester United have long been linked to Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal in an effort to bolster their ailing midfield. With strong reports that Anderson will soon depart for Fiorentina, a new signing would appear even more of a pressing concern.
It is difficult to imagine United prizing Vidal away from Turin, however. The Chilean has arguably been Juventus’s most influential player this season and he only signed a contract extension last month that ties him to the club until 2017.
Marchisio would certainly seem to be a more viable option. The Italy international has seen his playing time diminish since the arrival and continued emergence of former United man Paul Pogba. However, Juventus continue to claim that the 27-year-old will be staying put.
“There is no problem with Marchisio,” Juventus chief executive Beppe Marotta said, according to Sky Sports. “Claudio is a player who grew up in the Juventus youth teams and he loves the shirt. During a busy season it is inevitable that every player will have their lows, but everything is normal.”
There have also been rumors that Manchester United will try and bring Pogba back to Old Trafford. The Daily Express claims that Moyes is keen on the France international, with United believing that he is unsettled in Italy. A potential fee of £30 million is mooted.
While, Juventus have previously hinted that riches on other elsewhere may dictate that there may come a point when they are unable to hold onto the 20-year-old, that moment does not appear to have yet arrived.
"We would listen with courtesy to possible offers, but the answer will always be negative," Marotta told Sky Italia, reports Sky Sports. "Juve is between the most important sides and it's not the case to imagine any sales."