Reports continue to surface that Manchester United remain firmly in contention to sign unsettled Arsenal captain Robin van Perise. The Daily Mail has claimed that United are set for a bitter battle with local rivals Manchester City over the Dutch forward.
Since Van Persie made public his unwillingness to sign a new contract at the Emirates, it had been expected that City and their financial muscle would be favorites to land the 28-year-old. According to the Mail, however, Van Persie may prefer a move to Old Trafford.
More may be known this week when Van Persie is due to have face-to-face talks with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger over his future at the club. Th Mail has speculated that Van Persie and his agent may be following a strategy similar to that of United's Wayne Rooney two years ago, who stated his desire to leave before signing a massive new contract.
It remains highly unlikely that United would spend the reported £30 million required to land a player who will turn 29 next month.
United will still have money to spend, however, with the Red Devils set to miss out on one of their top summer targets Luka Modric. Despite early encouragement in their pursuit of the Tottenham playmaker, it would appear that a deal is now all but done to take the Croatian to Real Madrid.
Spanish publication Marca reports that Modric has already agreed terms with Real and the two clubs are now close to agreeing a transfer fee. While nothing can be taken for granted with Tottenham's tough-negotiating chairman Daniel Levy, a final compromise looks set to be reached somewhere between €35 million and €40 million.
With that in mind, boss Sir Alex Ferguson may have turned his attentions toward Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen. Reports in the Netherlands late last week suggested that United were in talks with Ajax over the highly-touted 20-year-old.
Now the Mirror claims that two clubs are in negotiations to sign Eriksen and are willing to meet Ajax's £20 million asking price. It is said that Eriksen is desperate to know if United are one of those clubs and has long dreamed of a move to Old Trafford.
A move for Eriksen remains unlikely at this stage, however. Eriksen has spent much of his career playing in the advanced midfield role favored by new United recruit Shinji Kagawa and it remains to be seen whether the Dane has the discipline to operate as a deeper-lying playmaker. Eriksen has also previously indicated that he was happy to continue his development at Ajax for at least another season.
Speculation that would appear to have more legs is the continuing reports of United's interest in Leighton Baines. The Times states that the club are ready to lodge a £10 million bid for the Everton left-back. The Toffees are said to be looking for £15 million for one of their prized assets, but Ferguson is said to believe that a deal can be done for less.
Any deal for the 27-year-old England international would raise serious question marks over the future of Patrice Evra. Neither Baines nor the experienced Frenchman are likely to be willing to split time on the left of United's defense next season.