Speculation continues to swirl as to what transfer business Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward is tending to after leaving the club’s pre-season tour. United made a bid of €30 million (£25.8m) for Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas earlier this week and Spanish publication AS believes that Woodward is now trying to conclude the transfer.
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has said that Fabregas wants to stay at the Camp Nou, although AS and other sources believe that he could be tempted by a move. Fabregas has yet to find a defined role in the Barcelona team since his move from Arsenal two years ago and he could be lured by the opportunity to be a key player at United, especially ahead of next year’s World Cup.
Competition would likely come from Arsenal, which has a first refusal clause on the player. Arsene Wenger has said that he would be alerted were Fabregas to become available, however, he does not believe that Fabregas will move this summer.
That may well prove true with Barcelona having already sold another midfielder and United-target Thiago Alcantara to Bayern Munich. United’s hope will be that Barcelona need the money to fund further purchases.
With strengthening his midfield a priority for new manager David Moyes this summer, it is likely that alternatives are being considered. Sky Italia believes a leading target is Real Madrid’s Luka Modric. The Croatian playmaker was strongly linked to United before moving to the Bernabeu last summer. With Modric not enjoying the greatest of debut seasons in Spain and Madrid having signed Asier Illarremendi and Isco this summer, the Spanish giants may well be open to the possibility of selling the 27-year-old. It is said that United have already made contact with Madrid.
It is also thought that Manchester United are keen to make a statement signing to project confidence following the end of the Sir Alex Ferguson era and the start of Moyes’s reign. The arrival of Gareth Bale would certainly achieve that and the Daily Mirror has claimed that United are making a £60 million bid for the Tottenham attacker.
If it came off, the signing would double the current club record fee of £30 million paid for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008. That deal showcased the tough negotiating style of Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and a transfer for Bale will be extremely difficult to complete. Spurs have repeatedly insisted that the Welshman is not for sale and the London club would also prefer to sell him abroad if he is to leave. Real Madrid have made Bale their top target.
If Madrid were to sign Bale then it may make it easier for United to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford. The Portuguese star has been repeatedly been linked with a move back to the club he left to join Madrid in an £80 million deal. But, despite Ronaldo entering the final two years of his contract, a transfer will not come easy. The Daily Star believes that Ronaldo has given a clear indication that he won’t be returning to Manchester by putting his mansion in England’s North West up for sale.