Earlier today, the rumour mill was awash with stories claiming Manchester United were about to secure their first signing of the January transfer window.
So who was it to be – a much-needed creative midfielder, a holding player, a striker to ease the burden with Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney currently unavailable?
No, it was a defender – Bayern Munich’s Dante to be precise – but it appears the claims of an (almost)done deal are a little wide of the mark.
The defender’s agent Marcus Marin has told the Independent that the 30-year-old is currently negotiating a new deal with the German treble-winners.
“There is no agreement with Manchester United,” Marin is quoted as saying.
“We are currently in negotiations with Bayern over a new year and his first option is to play there. He is very happy in Germany at the moment but if nothing can be arranged in the next few weeks then of course he would have to explore his options elsewhere.”
Marin then added that he hoped things would be resolved before the World Cup…so perhaps not by the end of January as implied?
Given the wording of the statement, you would be forgiven for assuming that Dante is in the final year of his contract, or at least close to that, but in fact he is contracted to Bayern until the summer of 2016.
So there is no urgency…at least not in the traditional sense of time. But given United’s need for reinforcements, and their very public struggles on the pitch, it would be no surprise if they were being used as a way to negotiate better deals for players at current clubs.
It would be nothing new, to suggest a player is in demand not to instigate a move but instead to force a club into preventing it. After all, didn’t Cesc Fabregas go from possible United salvation to regular Barcelona starter, and weren’t the rumours of a Cristiano Ronaldo return at their loudest in the months before he signed a new deal at Real Madrid?
Further to this, we ran a story last summer about Saphir Taider - a Bologna player who reportedly felt he was being poorly paid. His agent mentioned that United were interested and soon enough he was off to Inter Milan, with no evidence as to whether United really were interested or if their name was simply used to force Bologna to pay up or sell up.
So while there may be genuine interest in Dante from United, their desire for reinforcements of a certain calibre could be used against them, not just in the amounts they may be asked to pay, but in the players who can use their interest – real or otherwise – to better their own situations.
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