After a disappointing, to say the least, first transfer window at Old Trafford for David Moyes, the new Manchester United manager is already believed to be making plans to ensure he gets the players needed to improve his squad in January.
According to the Daily Mirror, those plans include scouting striker Christian Benteke in Belgium’s World Cup qualifying win in Scotland last Friday. Benteke is thought to have been on the radar of several top clubs after scoring 19 goals in his first Premier League season. Yet, after initially handing in a transfer request, Benteke later signed an improved contract to keep him at the Midlands club.
Interest in the 22-year-old is likely to decrease, however, after he started this season with three goals in as many appearances in the league. Villa are likely to ask for in excess of £25 million for a player they signed for just £7 million from Genk just over a year ago.
There has been no confirmation that Moyes was watching his home nation in action primarily to scout Benteke. But, while the need to get a further look at the player may seem strange after his exploits last season, Moyes is known to always compile extensive dossiers on transfer targets.
A striker would not currently appear to be a priority, after Manchester United held firm in their insistence that Wayne Rooney would not leave Old Trafford this summer. Yet, his future remains far from certain, with the 27-year-old’s contract having entered its final two years.
The Telegraph reports that Chelsea would bid again for the forward if his deal was be run down to its last year. United would be in a weaker position to resist such a move, with the possibility then looming large of Rooney leaving for nothing. The Premier League champions are therefore keen for the England international to sign a new long-term contract, reports The Telegraph, although likely not until the current clouds of unrest have dispersed.
Getting Rooney to stay was one of the few objectives United achieved this summer. But, according to the Daily Mail, any failings were in large part down to a preoccupation with trying to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo. United’s interest in the Portuguese forward was discussed throughout the summer and Ronaldo has yet to sign an extension to his Real Madrid contract, which now has less than two years to run.
The Mail believes that United would be able to put together a package capable of offering Madrid £80 million and the 28-year-old the bumper pay rise that he is seeking. Indeed, the tabloid claims that a renewed attempt to sign the former United star could happen in January or next summer. There appears little to no chance of a deal happening in midseason, although United will certainly be interested heading into the close season, especially if a new contract remains unsigned.
In other transfer-related news, Moyes is set to make an approach for Sheffield United center-back Harry Maguire in January, according to the Daily Mirror. The 20-year-old is said to have been identified as a target under predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson. Reportedly valued at £4 million by his League 1 club, the England Under-21 international has already made 121 first-team appearances.