Busy summer ahead for United in transfer market
23:20, 22 May 2012
Manchester United look set to make a significant response to last season's disappointment: with a very busy summer. Alex Ferguson has targeted enhancements in at least four positions, with the pick of the possible arrivals including Lille’s Eden Hazard, Borussia Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa, Luka Modric and, more surprisingly, Leighton Baines. While the transfer plans represent something of a break from recent policy, they still remain within the limitations of Glazer-era minimalism.
United’s interest in both Hazard and Kagawa is well known, with the former raising excitement on Sunday night through a farewell address to the Lille supporters. Expected to name his next destination, Hazard only said “as long as I’ve not put pen to paper, I won’t say where I’m going.”
The Irish Examiner understands, however, that Hazard visited Old Trafford last Wednesday and there have been extensive talks. But, while an offer has been made, new Premier League champions Manchester City have already apparently trumped them as regards wages while Hazard himself admitted on Sunday that Chelsea’s Champions League win “makes you hesitate... it is possible Chelsea’s arrival at the negotiation table will delay things.”
A United source said that, as far as their offer goes, they hope it’s “down to a football choice”.
By contrast, it would be a huge surprise if Kagawa’s move broke down at this point. The two clubs are currently haggling over price, with Borussia Dortmund asking for £20m while United have offered £10m. The deal is expected to be done for around £15m before the start of Euro 2012.
The German club, however, are less willing to negotiate about Robert Lewandowski, with Dortmund already turning down a £15m offer from Old Trafford. Whether United go back in remains to be seen but, as well as two midfielders and a full-back, Ferguson is understood to be seeking another forward.
In the event of Hazard going elsewhere, though, United are considering shifting such funds towards Luka Modric again.
Having been interested all last summer only to be put off by the finances, United now feel they can leverage the situation given Spurs’ failure to qualify for the Champions League.
Meanwhile, as well as looking to bring in a back-up forward, United have also begun proceedings to try and take Baines to Old Trafford. Ferguson is understood to be a huge admirer of the left-back and even looked into a move in January when the clubs were negotiating over Darron Gibson.
As it stands, however, Everton’s asking price is far too high and negotiations are likely to go on past England’s Euro 2012 campaign.
In the meantime, Ferguson is understood to be assessing the futures of both Rafael and Fabio, who haven’t progressed as quickly as imagined. The latter, in particularly, is set to go on loan to Benfica.
A version of this story was in today’s Irish Examiner
Miguel Delaney is a European football journalist who writes for the Evening Herald, the Irish Examiner, ESPN, the London Independent and ourselves. In 2011, he was nominated for Irish sports journalist of the year.
Follow him @migueldelaney
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