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United keen to beat noisy neighbours to £27m striker

joveticReds who wished to see Thiago Alcantara at Old Trafford were dealt a blow late last night, as rumours began to circulate in Spain that the Barcelona midfielder was close to join Bayern Munich after having been impressed by Pep Guardiola’s offer, meaning that we should probably give up any dreams regarding Thiago and hope David Moyes finds somebody else to add some much-needed quality to the midfield, particularly considering that Kevin Strootman is on the verge of signing for Roma.

The midfield might have a familiar look come August (much to Anderson fans’ delight – albeit we’re not sure that such a thing could actually exist) but Robin Van Persie’s supporting cast up-front could be very different, if today’s papers are to be believed.

According to the Sun, United are locked in a battle with City for £27m-rated Fiorentina striker Stevan Jovetic who, after being linked with Juventus, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Arsenal over the last couple of weeks, has now emerged as the focus of an all-Mancunian tussle.

David Moyes, says the Sun, has turned his attention to Jovetic and with United ready to match City’s offer of £120,000-a-week, Manuel Pellegrini might run the risk of missing out on one of his targets.

The Mirror has a rather different take on the story because, while admitting that United’s interest in the Montenegro international is alive and kicking, City have held lengthy talks with Jovetic’s agent and not even a last minute bid from David Moyes could swing the pendulum United’s way, as Jovetic looks set to sign a deal worth £80,000-a-week – yes, that’s £40,000-a-week less than the figures reported in the Sun, which speaks volume for the reliability of these newspaper’s sources.

Should United manage to land Stevan Jovetic, that would open the door for Wayne Rooney to leave the club. Despite Moyes’ repeated reassurance that the former Everton man is part of his plans, Rooney’s future looks far from settled, even if the new United manager is adamant he’ll get the best out of the 27-year-old.

“I’ve met him on several occasions recently. Wayne has been to my house, I’ve been to his, and obviously we’re here [at the training ground] every day.

“A lot has been said about me and Wayne over recent years, but we have a good relationship,” Moyes told the Mirror.

“He’s trained great. They [people at the club] are telling me they’ve never seen him in better shape. That’s positive.

“He’s not for sale and I will try to get the best Wayne Rooney I possibly can.”

Rooney, however, could still be sold, with Arsenal and, particularly, Chelsea clear front-runners in the race for the England international. The Daily Star claims that Arsenal are still entertaining dreams of pairing Rooney with Gonzalo Higuain up-front next season, while the Independent believes that Jose Mourinho is ready to offload either Fernando Torres or Demba Ba to make space for Rooney at Stamford Bridge.

Elsewhere, Chris Smalling, Nani, Nemanja Vidic and Ashley Young did not travel on tour with the rest of the squad due to injury, while David Moyes reassured the fans that United are still a force in the market.

“Manchester United will always be in for the best players in the world,” said the United manager.

“But we are also very interested in developing our own youth players and bringing in potential players for the future, so we are working on that just now.

“Don’t be kidded because there is a bit of a lack of activity. Take it from me, we are working hard behind the scenes to try to improve the squad.

“I’m really fortunate that Alex [Ferguson] has given me the champions of England. My job is to try and keep that going, maintain it and build on it. We are out there trying.

“I won’t talk about players at other clubs, I don’t think it’s right, but I can tell you we are out there trying to do some business.”


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