Manchester United are expected to soon make an improved offer to try and pry left-back Leighton Baines away from Everton. An initial bid of between £10 million and £12 million was rejected last month, with Everton determined to hold onto the England international and not prepared to consider letting him go for less than £20 million.
The Guardian reports that there has not been any dialogue between the clubs since then, but that United will imminently return with an offer that still falls considerably short of Everton’s valuation. Baines, 28, has been a United target since last summer and new manager David Moyes is now keen to reunite with the player that he brought to Goodison Park in 2007.
A deal looks someway off at this stage and United’s owners may take some persuading to shell out £20 million for a full-back who will turn 29 midway through the coming season. The Premier League champions also have a very serviceable left-back in Patrice Evra, with the France international having returned to form last season. While Evra has been linked with a return to Monaco, the big-spending Ligue 1 side have just completed a deal for fellow French left-back Eric Abidal.
The other player currently being actively pursed as David Moyes looks to complete his first major signing since taking over at Old Trafford is Thiago Alcantara. Barcelona-based publication Sport believes that the midfielder remains set on leaving the Spanish champions in order to gain more regular first-team action and aid his chances of getting into the Spain squad for next year’s World Cup. Although Barcelona have been trying to persuade the 22-year-old to stay, a clause in his contract allows him to leave for €18 million (£15.6m) until the end of July.
However, Sport claims that Bayern Munich are continuing to monitor the situation and Thiago’s former manager Pep Guardiola will step in if a move to United breaks down. For the time being, though, Barcelona are holding firm. Club spokesman Toni Freixa has confirmed that Thiago will begin pre-season training with them.
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“Thiago is a Barcelona player, so he will start the pre-season with the rest of the squad as planned,” he told Radio Catalunya.
Another of United’s midfield targets now nooks to be heading elsewhere. Dutch publication Voetbal International, which on Monday carried quotes from Kevin Strootman revealing that there were several clubs interested in his signature, claims that the PSV Eindhoven man is close to securing a transfer to Roma. The 23-year-old Netherlands international has long been linked with United but could now join the Italian side for a fee in the region of €20 million (£17.3m).
Elsewhere, Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport has continued speculation that Manchester United are keen to sign Inter Milan central defender Andrea Ranocchia. There has been much talk that Moyes will look to strengthen his backline this summer and has been linked with moves for Ranocchia and Benfica’s Ezequiel Garay. Italy international Ranocchia is also said to be interesting Arsenal and Tottenham, with Inter already making contingency plans in the event of his departure.