In the majority of transfer races said to be on the horizon for David Moyes ahead of the summer window, Manchester United are far from occupying pole position.
This season’s capitulation, coupled with strong rumours of dressing room discontent and the increasing likelihood of no Champions League football next year all combine to make Old Trafford seem like a pretty lame horse to back when put up against the vast majority of European superpowers.
But it’s exactly these super powers they will have to beat if they are to land any of hottest properties said to be on the market. In my mind the only way they’re going to be able to do that is if they negotiate using the small advantages they do have.
First and foremost, this means that United can’t look to play hard-ball in any transfer sagas they find themselves embroiled in post-June. Whereas once the reigning Premier League champions could sit comfortably safe in the knowledge that their status would more often than not ensure a pressing interest from the player in question, they now have to go about their business in the same way as everyone else.
Why? Purely because their clubs won’t want to let them go. Neither Kroos or Cavani looks determined to move this summer, and so neither will likely kick up a fuss if they aren’t allowed to join a team which isn’t going to be playing in the Champions League next year.
However, another speculated United target, Ilkay Gundogan, might just be tempted.
Furthermore, and perhaps more pertinently, his club and manager may be interested in a deal, so long as United offer the right deal.
By this I mean putting Shinji Kagawa on the table. Jurgen Klopp has made no secret of the fact that he would take the Japanese playmaker back in a heartbeat, and given the fact that that the 24-year-old currently spends the majority of the time occupying the Old Trafford bench, it’s a deal that makes sense for both parties.
Were Moyes to boldly place a first-team star on the bartering table, as well as probably stump up some cash to go along with it, it stands to reason that Borussia Dortmund would be far more open to allowing Gundogan to leave.
What’s more, it would likely give the Red Devils a firm boost ahead of the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, both of whom have also been credited with interest. Dortmund may not be looking to sell the man who was so effective for them in last season’s run to the Champions League final, but they would be far more ready to listen to offers if the proposals came with the promise of a ready made replacement.
On Kagawa’s part, he would surely jump at the chance to return to the Westfalenstadion, given how little fruit his time in the Premier League has bore. For his opposite number the deal would represent the chance to join a United side which is crying out for creative talent in the centre of midfield.
United may not be favourites to land the vast majority of the names that have been linked with them thus far, but they have the tools within their own squad to make themselves the frontrunners to get Gundogan.