Manchester United have missed out on what seemed to be their prime summer transfer target Thiago Alcantara, who has opted to join reigning European champions Bayern Munich. Alternatives must now be sought, with Cesc Fabregas and Sevilla midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia linked with the Premier League champions.
It is a huge blow that Thiago has chosen to reunite with former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola rather than make the move to Manchester, especially considering how close he appeared to be to completing a deal to become David Moyes’ first major signing. He would have represented the ideal player to slot into a midfield that is somewhat lacking in creativity and composure following the retirement of Paul Scholes and question marks over Tom Cleverley and Anderson.
As such, Moyes appears to be targeting a player of similar ilk to Thiago in fellow Barcelona midfielder Fabregas. The
A major stumbling block in any deal for Fabregas however is the sell-on clause that Arsenal agreed when letting their former captain leave. It was claimed that Barcelona would owe half of any transfer fee received to the North Londoners, unless Fabregas should head back to the Emirates, for which scenario a price of £25m was set. If Fabregas would prefer a switch to Manchester rather than London, the offer from United would likely have to exceed the £40m mark, as selling a player of the Spaniard’s calibre and receiving less than £20m would surely not be a viable option for the Catalan outfit.
A player that could be recruited for significantly less than Fabregas is highly-rated French youngster Kondogbia, who has an £8.5m release clause in his Sevilla contract. The Metro reported that the cash-strapped La Liga club’s president Jose Maria del Nido confirmed a bid had been turned down for the promising midfielder, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Real Madrid also reportedly interested in addition to the English champions.
Kondogbia was a key performer in the France team that won the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey last week, and at almost 6’4″ is an imposing figure in the centre of the park. He is more defensively orientated than the likes of Fabregas, but is nonetheless accomplished when he gets forward, dovetailing well with former United youngster Paul Pogba in his country’s engine room.
Despite the setback of missing out on Thiago, there are still targets that new boss Moyes will feel can enhance his squad, particularly with the funds available. The Scot said: “Isn’t it great that the club says, ‘There’s no budget here, you go get who you want to get, just go and do it’. We are looking at the best players.” United supporters will be hoping that the looking turns into the signing of quality players before the start of the season.
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