New Manchester United manager David Moyes has attempted to allay supporters’ doubts about the club’s failure to make a major signing since the former Everton boss was appointed as successor to Sir Alex Ferguson. So far, only young Uruguayan full-back Guillermo Varela has arrived, despite the Premier League champions being persistently linked with several big-name players. But Moyes has confirmed that plenty of effort is being put into trying to improve the squad.

“Man United will always be in for the best players in the world but we are also very interested in developing our own youth players and bringing in potential players for the future, so we are working on that just now," he told Talksport. "Don’t be kidded because there is a bit of a lack of activity. Take it from me, we are working hard behind the scenes to try to improve the squad.

"I'm really fortunate that Alex [Ferguson] has given me the champions of England. My job is to try and keep that going, maintain it and build on it. We are out there trying. I won't talk about players at other clubs, I don’t think it is right, but I can tell you we are out there trying to do some business."

The Daily Telegraph reports that one of the targets still being pursued is Cristiano Ronaldo. However, United face an increasingly uphill battle to lure the Portuguese star back to Old Trafford. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is again insisting that the player will finish he career at the Bernabeu, amid suggestions that a contract offer to make him the world’s highest-paid player will be put on the table.

“Ronaldo wants to retire at Real Madrid, and we want him to retire here, just like [Zinedine] Zidane and so many other great players did,” Pérez said. “You can be absolutely certain that Cristiano will retire at Real Madrid.”

And Manchester United also appear to have suffered a blow in their attempts to sign Thiago Alcantara. The main motivating factor behind the midfielder considering leaving Barcelona for Old Trafford is to ensure regular first team-action, with the aim of playing in next year’s World Cup firmly in his thoughts. But Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has said that he expects the 22-year-old to get the required action at the Camp Nou.

“The most important thing for Thiago is that he keeps getting games,” he explained, according to the Daily Mail. “There are other options, but I think he will get them at Barcelona, he is held in a very high regard at the club.”

Thiago has a clause allowing him to leave for €18 million (£15.5m) until the end of July, but Barcelona have been trying to persuade him to stay. With the matter dragging on, Barcelona have said that Thiago will start pre-season training with them.

United are also continuing to pursue Leighton Baines. After having an initial bid of between £10 million and £12 million rejected, there were widespread rumours on Tuesday that United would return to Everton with an improved offer for the left-back. And the Daily Mirror has now attempted to put a figure behind the story, by claiming that a bid of £14 million has been authorized. That is still likely to be immediately rejected by Everton, however, with the Merseyside club determined to hold onto the England international and valuing him at £20 million.

The Mirror also reports that United winger Nani could be on his way to Anzhi Makhachkala. Former United coach Rene Meulensteen has joined the Russian side as a coach and could well play a part in securing the Portugal international, who has just a year remaining on his contract. The 26-year-old has also been strongly linked with Roma.

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