A few weeks ago we pondered the likely Manchester United summer transfer targets, given the information available at the time, and any developments with regard to contracts or interest from other clubs in United players. Now seems to be a good time to re-visit this subject and appraise the latest information we have to hand.
Firstly let’s deal with a constant, and that is Robert Lewandowski, the Dortmund striker. Sir Alex was very close to signing him last year and it was only because of the urgent need to sign Robin Van Persie and head off a number of other suitors, which in the end stymied any deal for Lewandowski. He has continued, however, to score goals and is high on Sir Alex Fergusons list of targets for this summer. Lewandowski has constantly made clear his intention to join Manchester United at some stage which is why nobody else is even bothering to try and sign him.
Gareth Bale is probably top of a number of clubs list, but the stated fee of £70m will put off everyone who is interested, especially as the FFP rules are really looming and threatening a few of the Premier League clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City, who are both still a long way off compliance. Manchester United certainly has the funds to make this transfer, but whether Sir Alex would be willing to put all his eggs in one basket is open to debate. This is one to watch, as if Tottenham miss out on a Champions League place, Bale might request a transfer, which would change everything.
Leighton Baines of Everton is another player who has been in the sights of Sir Alex before and had an excellent start to the season. The fact that he has not been able to dislodge Ashley Cole, even though he looks like he may be leaving Chelsea this summer, have dampened Sir Alex`s desire for this player. Also, he is now 28, so there seems little point in buying a player who will have only 3-4 years left at the top anyway.
Manchester United has had a perennial problem in midfield. They had Paul Scholes out from retirement, but he has spent most of the season injured and will retire at the end of this season. With Darren Fletcher looking more and more like he is finished as player due to illness and Anderson simply not improving and probably being shown the door this summer, it may well be that Sir Alex looks again at Everton, this time at Marouane Fellaini. The mercurial midfielder has attributes that would certainly enhance United`s midfield, adding height and goals to the mix. This one is a distinct possibility, but will Everton want to sell their prize asset?
Finally, we have another midfield dynamo in the Paul Scholes mould in Luca Modric. Modric spent two years lobbying his club, Tottenham Hotspur for a transfer to Real Madrid and last year he got his wish. Unfortunately, he has not settled at all well, and was recently voted the worst signing in La Liga by a fans forum in Spain; something which was readily re-printed by Marca, the Spanish sports newspaper. Modric`s agents have made it clear that he is unhappy in Spain and wants a move to the Premier League, with Manchester United his preferred destination. This deal has possibilities, especially as the player has made his preferred club known in advance.
Whilst we have covered all five of our top contenders, we could not leave this subject without a special mention for Christiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo was visibly moved by the response from the Manchester United fans when he played against them for Real Madrid in the recent Champions League match at Old Trafford. He is unhappy at Real Madrid for various reasons; moreover, with manager Jose Mourinho leaving at the end of the season, he will become more isolated within the club. Real will be very aware that they cannot leave this matter to drift. Ronaldo has already stated that he will not sign another deal and with his current contract expiring in 2015, they might be tempted to cash in and take a slightly lower amount that has previously been mentioned. This one is worth watching.