The Old Trafford outfit are chasing the Everton duo, but is it because they have failed to sign their real transfer targets this summer?
The hunt for a new creative midfielder looks no closer to being resolved, while young Uruguayan right-back Guillermo Varela is the only new face at Old Trafford.
However, is this offer because United really want these two players or because they just want to sign someone?
Looking at both players, they have been excellent for the Goodison Park club but where they would fit in at United would remain to be seen.
Fellaini’s versatility is one of his key features, as he can be deployed as a forceful second striker or a deep-lying midfield enforcer. He has played both well, and could play either for United.
However, with Wayne Rooney looking exceedingly likely to stay at Old Trafford, the last thing the Premier League champions need is another second striker or attacker. He could be used as a midfield battler, but this brings the club nowhere near closer to solving its creative problem in the centre of the park.
Baines is an excellent left-back – one of the best in the Premier League without a doubt. His attacking threat as he marauds forward is another key benefit, while his delivery and crossing is second-to-none.
The problem is though, United have arguably the best left-back in the division in the form of Patrice Evra. Yes, the French defender is getting older and needs some competition, but he will be good enough to play at the highest level for another couple of seasons.
Baines is 29 in a couple of months, and as such cannot be seen as a long-term replacement for Evra. Both are excellent players currently, and to have one on the bench seems like a real waste.
United’s last resort mentality when it comes to the duo is evident in the timing and amount of the bids. If Moyes had wanted the pair this summer, why not try and buy them six weeks ago?
The £28 million offered has been broken down as £12m for Baines and £16m for Fellaini. United had a £12m bid for Baines rejected earlier in the summer – why would Everton accept the same amount now?
Everton signed Fellaini for an initial fee of £15 million as a 20-year-old. He has progressed into a top-drawer international player over his five seasons in England and has a number of years left on his contract left at Goodison. Is £16 million, a £1 million profit really going to entice Everton to sell one of their best players?
The fact that Moyes knows Everton so well after his nine years at the club and has bid this derisory amount, after the first game of the season, is a bit of a slap in the face to his former employers. If United had bid the same amount while Moyes was still manager of Everton, he would have told them where to go in no uncertain terms.
image: © Jason Gulledge