Manchester United will have to increase their offer for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha to £15 million in order to land the in-demand 20-year-old, according to the Daily Mirror.
The report claims that a bid of £10 million has already been rejected, with Palace seeking an increased offer, which would include add-ons, plus the provision that Zaha be loaned back to the Championship club for the remainder of the season.
While a host of Premier League clubs were thought to have been interested in Zaha, recent reports have suggested that United have beaten off their rivals and are now in pole position to secure a deal. Palace manager Ian Holloway has confirmed the interest in Zaha, while stating the requirement for the player to remain to help the club’s push for promotion to the Premier League.
“Wilfried Zaha is wanted by some of the biggest clubs in the Premier League," Holloway wrote in the Sunday Mirror. "And THAT, in the football silly season that everyone else calls January, is the problem.
"I felt it necessary to have a chat with Wilfried this week about what might happen and what definitely won't be happening,” he added. “Even if we do reach an agreement with a club, it would have to include a clause that Zaha stays put for the rest of the season."
Another player that could be arriving at Old Trafford in the summer is Ashley Cole. According to the Sunday People, Cole, whose Chelsea contract expires in the summer, is planning on having talks with United at the end of the season about a potential free transfer.
The 31-year-old is already free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs, with Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid believed to be interested. It appears increasingly unlikely that Cole, or his teammate in the same contract predicament Frank Lampard, will be remaining at Stamford Bridge.
Ferguson is thought to be interested in taking both Chelsea veterans.
It does not appear, however, that this summer will see a sensational return to Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo. There has been fervent speculation in recent weeks of Ronaldo’s unhappiness at Real Madrid and that both United and Paris Saint-Germain could seek to take advantage of the situation.
The 27-year-old has a contract until the summer of 2015 and Ronaldo has said that he has no plans to move before then, but intriguingly made no such commitment about his future past that date.
“I want to see out my contract at Real Madrid: I’m very clear about that,” he said in an interview with FIFA.com. “After that, well, I don’t know what’ll happen in the future.”
Few clubs in the world are likely to be willing or able to afford the huge transfer fee that Ronaldo would surely command but a free transfer in 2015 is certainly likely to appeal to United. Whether Madrid would be prepared to let Ronaldo’s contract run down and lose him for nothing remains to be seen.
In other news, St Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has claimed that there has been contact with Manchester United as well as rivals Manchester City about a potential move. However, the 23-year-old has revealed that he has no plans to move this month.
"I want to leave with everyone happy," Aubameyang said, according to Sky Sports.
"I will not leave in this January window.
"There is contact with the two Manchester clubs and also clubs in Italy, especially Fiorentina and another big Italian club."
The former Milan youngster has scored eight goals in 19 appearances in Ligue 1 this season.