From the moment it was announced that Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward was leaving the club’s pre-season tour to oversee some form of transfer business, the rumour mill has shifted up a gear.
Swiftly dismissing the possibility that his flight home has anything to do with Wayne Rooney, the papers have settled on four possible scenarios – all involving incoming players. And if they are to be believed, David Moyes is closing in on one of Leighton Baines, Marouane Fellaini, Cesc Fabregas or Gareth Bale.
Despite no quotes to back up the story, it has been suggested that United are prepared to offer £60million for the Tottenham player; a move that will render all the drama surrounding Rooney obsolete.
If the England striker felt he was surplus to requirements before, the arrival of the Welshman would take that to a whole new level.
Of course that is without taking into account the notorious bargaining ability of Daniel Levy. But there is little doubt Bale would be the best player to pull on a United shirt since Cristiano Ronaldo.
We just can’t see it happening…at least yet; just as Arsene Wenger cannot see United being successful in their pursuit of Cesc Fabregas.
“At the moment, Fabregas has decided to stay one more year at Barcelona,” Wenger said.
“We have the clause in the contract so we would be on alert, but at the moment that’s not something we’re after.”
Following similar quotes from Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova it appears any United move may be rejected by the player. And yet the swiftness with which Woodward has left Australia suggests something is afoot.
Should moves for Bale and Fabregas prove unsuccessful, two former Moyes’ players could be set for Old Trafford.
Fellaini and Baines have long been linked with the champions, with an unsuccessful move for the left-back earlier this summer.
And yet new Everton boss Roberto Martinez intends on keeping both.
“This is the moment of having speculation, having talks and clubs looking around,” he said.
“We are Everton and we want to keep our best performers and we have got our own aims and that it very clear.”
Something else that is clear is that if United wish to sign any of their main transfer targets this summer, they will have to work harder than ever.
image: © Jan S0L0