Following a tumultuous week that saw the ouster of David Moyes, and the elevation of Ryan Giggs as interim manager, Manchester United have begun a turnaround in Old Trafford that could also mean some new faces on the pitch this summer.
United began life without Moyes in a stunning 4-0 victory over Norwich on Saturday, and it was a rousing success for Giggs in his first attempt as manager, but its unclear if he’s the long-term option for the club. And until United find themselves a permanent boss with top-notch credentials, signing players could prove difficult.
The Red Devils are largely focusing their transfer efforts within Premier League, hoping to pluck several defenders to replace the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra on the back line.
The largest swoop that could put United back on a championship track involves Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana and 18-year-old defender Luke Shaw for £55 million. However according to Daily Mail, Shaw wants to hold of on a change of scenery until he knows who will take over as United boss, and desires the same first-team role he has at St. Mary’s.
Shaw made his debut for England’s first team last month, and he’s seen as one of the biggest commodities during this summer’s transfer session at a valuation of £30 million. Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich are all reportedly interested in Shaw, which could only drive United’s cost up.
Other than a loan stint with Bournemouth in 2007, Lallana’s spent his entire career at St. Mary’s, making 232 appearances and scoring 48 goals.
Perhaps a more seasoned choice would be Cagliari defender Davide Astori, who according to Express will cost roughly £8 million to get Tottenham and Serie A’s Roma to back away. The 27-year-old was a target of United’s last summer and they’ve been tracking him ever since. Evidently, United and Tottenham seem the two most likely destinations for Astori, who has never played outside of Italy though he did have an opportunity to play for Russia’s Spartak Moscow two years ago but declined.
United could also capitalize on the frustrations of Arsenal right-back Bacary Sagna, and sign the French international this summer. Sagna, 31, and the Gunners have failed to reach an agreement on a new contract, with the player desiring a £100,000 per-week wage and a signing-on fee on top, according to Daily Star.
United and Manchester City appear as the two most likely clubs to land Sagna, since he still has a desire to play in Premier League. That essentially rules out other intrigued parties like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Galatasaray.
City has a significant edge since they can offer a reunion with former Gunners teammates and fellow Frenchmen Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri, and are not shy of lavishing players with high wages.
Sagna’s age, and contract demands, don’t seem to fit with United’s apparent plan to add youth to the back line but there’s no doubting his talent and Premier League experience could help bring another title to Old Trafford next year.