Manchester United Transfers: Analysis, Latest on the Old Trafford Targets

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIAugust 29, 2013

Despite being linked with a number of high-profile targets over the transfer window, Manchester United are yet to seriously add to their squad this summer.

While the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur have all spent over £50 million respectively, United have added in just Uruguayan defender Guillermo Varela this summer—putting pressure on Moyes to act before the window closes this year.

Plenty of players are still being linked with moves to Old Trafford; let's take a look at some of the latest links and break down just how likely they are to take place.


Leighton Baines, Everton

We start off with the big one for many United fans as Everton defender Leighton Baines is again linked with a move to work with his former manager in Moyes.

After having an offer for both him and Marouane Fellaini rejected already this summer, the Red Devils are reportedly ready to offer an improved £38 million offer for the pair (according to The Daily Mirror). And while it's not yet known how the Toffees will respond to the deal, reports are starting to emerge that the England international Baines wants the Merseyside club to accept.

The Telegraph reported earlier this week that Baines was keen to move to Old Trafford; The Daily Mail confirmed this morning similar reports surrounding a deal.

And while it's not yet known whether Everton will accept, and whether it includes Fellaini or not, the rumors stand to be a huge boost for United, who have been reportedly chasing Baines for some time.

Having Moyes at the hem is definitely an advantage for the Red Devils, and after the season he just had, there's little denying that the defending champions would relish having Baines on their team.

The defender created more goal-scoring opportunities than any other player in Europe last season. More than Andres Iniesta. More than Cristiano Ronaldo.

If keen on a move to Old Trafford, it would be incredibly difficult to oppose such a move. Yes, United have Patrice Evra in good form and Alexander Buttner waiting in the wings, but Baines is simply a class above; he's the type of player you simply grab if he's available, no matter what.

I've always been opposed to the move to try and lure Baines to United, but if he wants to come—which the reports seem to confirm—Moyes can't be faulted for getting it done.

He's simply too good a player to pass up.


Eliaquim Mangala, FC Porto

According to reports from The Metro, Manchester United could be considering adding highly rated Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala to their defensive unit this summer.

With the likes of Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones all capable of providing cover for Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, there seemingly isn't a need for another central defender at United. But the media outlet report that Moyes is still keen on adding cover given the age of both his starting defenders as well as their history of niggling injuries and illnesses.

The Daily Mirror state that Porto insist Mangala is not for sale, but they also point out that the club may struggle to resist an offer of around £12-15 million.

However, I just can't see this one happening.

Mangala is obviously valuable to Porto, and with Champions League football beckoning this year, they don't want to sell off the defender if it's going to cost them in Europe. The club have already reportedly stated that they don't want to sell him, and with close to £50 million in profit from the sales of James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho this summer, it's not like the Portuguese club exactly need the money.

They'd be much better off hanging on to the 22-year-old, which I believe they will. United have enough options in central defense that they don't need Mangala.


Mesut Ozil, Real Madrid

Gareth Bale will be playing for Real Madrid this year—that much is certain.

What we don't know is how his being there will impact Carlo Ancelotti's squad and, in particular, how it will affect guys like Mesut Ozil and, to an extent, Angel Di Maria.

With Isco arriving to the Bernabeu as well this summer, Los Blancos will have a different-looking squad from what they had last year—something that could well force players like Ozil to leave the Spanish powerhouse in search of first-team football.

The German international Ozil was linked with a potential move away to Manchester United and Arsenal this summer after he stormed off recently for Madrid.

However, according to comments that the midfielder made via The Daily Mail, it seems that he isn't leaving anywhere this summer—regardless of who's interested.

I am happy to be a Real Madrid player and proud to be part of this team. I have a contract until 2016. It is an honor and a privilege to be part of this team. I am flattered that great teams are interested in me. But I have a contract at Real Madrid and I will stay. There is no discussion.

The Sun had previously reported that United were considering a £40 million bid for Bale with fees of around £200,000 per week; but perhaps no more.

Ozil would have been an interesting signing for United and one that could have revitalized their midfield, though it would have been intriguing to see how he fared playing in a more central midfield role than an attacking playmaker one.

Either way, it's hard to see him coming after those comments, and I'd fully expect the German international to stay at Madrid this year.


Marouane Fellaini, Everton

After having a bid rejected earlier in the transfer window, Manchester United have reportedly turned back to Everton with another bid for Marouane Fellaini.

And according to The Metro, Moyes might have just struck gold.

Wanting just Fellaini this time (whereas the last bid for was him and Baines), United have reportedly had a £20-25 million fee agreed with Everton for the bustling Belgian. No word is yet known from either Toffees boss Roberto Martinez or from the player himself, but reports are starting to grow from what The Telegraph initially reported earlier in the transfer window.

There's little doubting that United need another central midfield option to give them that go-forward from the middle of the field, and while Fellaini might seem like a waste—given that he played the vast majority of last season in an attacking, trequartista role—the reality is that he would fit United's plans perfectly.

The Belgian international reported earlier in the summer transfer window about his desire to play more as a defensive midfielder (per The Daily Mirror), and stated that Moyes (the man now in charge at United) had a plan for him that he would love to try and put into motion. 

I’m happy with my ­season, although I didn’t play in my best position. I’m not a number 10. David Moyes predicts my future as a ­defensive midfielder, but due to a lack of offensive power, he plays me up front. In the future I want to play as a six or an eight. From there, I can create danger and score goals.

For United, Fellaini's (and Moyes') plan sounds perfect.

The biggest question will be whether they can convince Everton to sell their star midfielder, but with £20-25 million sitting on the table, the Toffees will be very tempted indeed. So much so that, despite indications earlier in the summer that they wouldn't, I think they'll sell Fellaini to United.

United need a central midfielder who can pose a great threat from a deep-lying central position; Fellaini can fill that role if given the opportunity by Manchester United.


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