David Moyes is continuing to work overdrive to try and bolster Manchester United’s ailing squad in the January transfer window. Having been in Italy to watch Juventus take on Cagliari at the weekend, he was spotted in the stands during Paris Saint-Germain’s League Cup clash with Bordeaux on Tuesday.
As with his Italian trip, when his targets were rumored to include Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio and Davide Astori, there has been much speculation as to who was the focus of the United manager’s attention. Reports suggest PSG’s Blaise Matuidi was at the forefront of Moyes’s agenda.
The commanding midfielder has been regularly linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent weeks and months. Fanning the flames of such rumors is the fact that the 26-year-old’s future expires in the summer. There seems little prospect of PSG relinquishing the France international easily, however. Despite being one of the nouveau-riche outfit’s more modest signings, Matuidi has become an increasingly influential figure in the French champions’ midfield. If Moyes was in Bordeaux to watch Matuidi, he is unlikely to have been deterred in his interest as Matuidi grabbed the final goal in a 3-1 win.
Getting the opening goal was Javier Pastore, who had one of his best games in a PSG shirt, and may have left Moyes considerably impressed. The Argentina international has struggled since his €37 million (£30.8m) from Palermo in 2011, but provided an all-too rare example of his creative ability on Tuesday.
With United desperately lacking in invention this season, Pastore is also reportedly a target. Yet, given the emergence of Adnan Januzaj in a left-sided role that Pastore has often occupied and Moyes’ reluctance to trust the creative talents of Shinji Kagawa in a central role, a deal for the 24-year-old appears a long shot. PSG have also claimed recently that they have no intention of cutting their losses on the player.
Doubtless to be on Moyes’ fantasy lists of signings is Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan. With Anderson set to complete his move to Fiorentina, the desire to improve United’s understrength midfield is only likely to have increased since the summer when failed bids were made for Cesc Fabregas and Ander Herrera before Marouane Fellaini was eventually secured.
Gundogan was a key figure as Borussia Dortmund reached the Champions League final last season, but there is much speculation that he will become the latest member of their squad to depart for greater riches elsewhere. With 18 months remaining on his contract, the Germany international told Bild earlier this week that his future remained “totally open.”
And the German tabloid has claimed that United, along with Real Madrid, have previously made approaches for Gundogan. The interest does not stop there, with Barcelona having reportedly been in contact with the player’s father and uncle.
Gundogan has yet to appear this season due to a back injury but has recently returned to training.
Following concerted reports during the summer that Manchester United were making determined efforts to bring their former idol Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club, the man who won the Ballon d’Or this week has claimed that Rio Ferdinand was one of United’s secret weapons in their pursuit.
“It is true Rio and I spoke a lot [in the summer]," he told The Times. "Rio is a great friend of mine. We played together for many years at Manchester United. We were neighbors when I was there in Manchester. He is a fantastic guy and he tried to change my mind to go back to Manchester.
"I did think about United. They are still in my heart. It is a club where I played for six years and I love that club. I have a lot of friends there and I wish them all the best."
After much uncertainty over his future, Ronaldo signed a new five-year contract in September and claimed that he hoped to retire at Real Madrid. One man who does not think that will happen is Roman Calderon, the former president of the club, who secured the Portuguese star’s signing from Manchester United in 2009. And Calderon also believes that Ronaldo will one day return to play in England.
“I do not think he [Ronaldo] will finish his career at Real,” he is quoted as saying by The Sun. “I feel that one day he will return to England.
"In Madrid, he is pleased with the city and the fans. But I think his relationship with [Real president] Florentino Perez is not as good as it was with Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Ronaldo loves father figures. With Florentino, he does not have that rapport. The relationship is bad or actually non-existent. He stays at Real despite the chairman.
"I was afraid he was going to leave [in the summer] because he is our best player. I have the feeling that Cristiano has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave when he wants."