Manchester United’s frustrated attempts to make a marquee signing to ignite the David Moyes era could now see their attention return to Tottenham’s Gareth Bale. The Premier League champions have so far come away empty handed from their pursuits of Spanish midfield duo Thiago Alcantara and Cesc Fabregas. And, with the new Premier League season just five days away, the only addition to the squad since Moyes replaced Sir Alex Ferguson has been Uruguay Under-20 international Guillermo Varela.

It leaves United considerably short of star power; a problem that could be resolved with the signing of Bale. The Independent reports that United could now go head-to-head with Real Madrid for the Welsh attacker’s signature, with Spurs even said to be more receptive to United’s advances after fractious negotiations with the Spanish giants.

It is a move that still appears highly unlikely, however. Whatever their frustrations with Madrid, Tottenham will doubtless still rather Bale moved abroad than to a Premier League rival. What’s more, Bale has also made it known that he is keen on the challenge and experience of playing in Spain. Despite United’s eagerness to pay significant sums to back Moyes, matching Spurs’ reported valuation for Bale of around £100 million is likely to prove out of the question.

Likely equally as fanciful are continued reports of Manchester United’s hopes of luring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford. The latest speculation has been sparked by United’s team sheet for the Community Shield on Sunday confirming that Antonio Valencia had relinquished the No 7 shirt in order to return to his previous number of 25. The Ecuadorian is believed to have made the switch following a poor campaign last season after taking on a number worn by many of United’s legends.

That, though, has not stopped the likes of the Daily Mail speculating that the fact that the 7 shirt is now available means that it could still be worn by one of its former greats, Ronaldo in the coming season. The Portuguese star’s return this summer looks an increasingly distant proposition with Madrid-based daily Marca recently claiming that Ronaldo had agreed a massive new contract to remain in the Spanish capital.

While the signing of either Bale or Ronaldo would be major statements of intent, strengthening the center of midfield remains Moyes’ priority. Having missed out on Fabregas, The Guardian is among the publications claiming that Luka Modric is now firmly under consideration. The Croatian playmaker had a disappointing first season at the Bernabeu last term and has seen his position come under further threat with Madrid’s recruitment of Asier Illarramendi and Isco. It is said that he could be available for £25 million.

Moyes is thought to still have doubts about the 27-year-old, however. Notably Modric does not come close to posing the same goal threat as Fabregas. Another name to be put forward as an option is Newcastle United’s Yohan Cabaye. The France international has repeatedly been linked with a move to Old Trafford since arriving in the Premier League from Lille two years ago. And Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has conceded that they may not to be able to resist a sizable offer for the 27-year-old.

“That’s a worry,” he said of the prospect of losing Cabaye late in the transfer window, according to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. “For me, of course I want to keep him. If one of the big clubs comes with a massive offer we will have to react to that. As it stands at the moment there have still been no offers. He remains our player and myself and the fans would love to see him stay come September 2, and still be in a black and white shirt.”

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