What a strange summer this has been so far. United are either linked to unrealistic targets, not going to sign anybody or, as it the case today, are reportedly poised to bid for not one, but two players, as David Moyes looks to add to his squad before the start of the season on August 17.
The names today’s newspapers link with a move to the club are hardly going to set many hearts racing but, at this stage, one gets the impression that a signing is better than no signing, if nothing else to provide the fans and the dressing room with some much needed lift.
According to various newspapers, David Moyes is set to launch a bid for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines, thought to be in the region of £30m. Yesterday the Belgian had been earmarked as Moyes’ new target, as having failed in his pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, the United manager turned towards his former club.
However, Moyes could now knock on Bill Kenwright’s door not just for the 25-year-old midfielder but also for England international Leighton Baines, for whom United had a £10-12m offer reportedly turned down earlier in the summer, as the Everton chairman slapped a £20m price tag on Baines.
Having signed Fellaini for £15m from Standard Liege in 2008 and Baines for £6m for Wigan in 2007, Moyes’ attempt to secure both players with £30m seems destined to fail particularly as, according to the Guardian, the Belgian’s release clause worth £23.5m has expired and he’s now unlikely to be available for the same amount.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez has stated his club are yet to receive a formal offer for either player but, despite Moyes’ respect for his former club, the United manager is thought to be determined to lure the pair away from Goodison Park, in what promises to be a rather lengthy negotiation, even though Fellaini is thought to be keen to rejoin his former manager, while the chance of playing Champions League football would be appealing to both players.
“There are no bids,” said the former Wigan manager. “When you read that someone is interested in someone, it doesn’t mean there is a bid on the table. Marouane has been working really hard. Leighton Baines has been working really hard for the team, and that’s all that matters. I’ve said from day one as a manager you only concentrate on working hard. I don’t mind having my players grabbing headlines. That’s a good story because it means they’ve been doing well. I’m only concentrating on having as strong a squad as possible for the start of the season.”
David Moyes, however, remains confident United will land a couple of new signings over the next couple of weeks. “I do think we’ll be bringing players in before the window shuts,” the United manager said after Tuesday’s friendly in Stockholm. “They will come. We’re moving along but if you said, ‘Is anything close?’ I couldn’t give you an answer.”
Moyes has the chance to lift his first trophy as United manager on Sunday, but has admitted he’s found his new job difficult at times: “The transition from Everton to United has been difficult at times as I have hard decisions to make.”
“Everton are a great club and I was proud to manage them. But I can’t deny Manchester United is on another level. Let’s be honest, it would be a step up from just about any club in the world.”
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