Manchester United would appear ready to abandon hope of securing the acquisition of Toni Kroos during the summer transfer window, with the club having accepted their prospects of capturing the Bayern Munich midfielder are slim indeed.
Ed Woodward, the Manchester United executive vice chairman, had stayed in Munich after Wednesday night’s encounter between the sides in order to ascertain Bayern’s position on Kroos. But Bayern maintain the player will remain at the Allianz Arena, and chances of a transfer to Old Trafford seem to have almost been extinguished.
Kroos is, of course, out of contract at the end of next season and, while a new deal remains unsigned, there will inevitably be the slightest of hopes that there could be a change in situation. There is, however, more than just a degree of improbability attached to this.
Manchester United were destined to reach this position with Kroos, much like they did last summer with Cesc Fabregas. Top teams harbour no desire to sell their best players, no matter any supposed discord with the individuals regarding salaries or preferred positions.
We were led to believe that Fabregas would be interested in leaving Barcelona for United. But why would he? We have been told that Kroos is ready to quit Munich for Manchester. For what reason?
Sure, the promise of building a team around a player panders significantly to their ego - something Manchester United seemed prepared to do with Kroos - but beyond the financial there would be little to be gained were the German to become a Red Devil.
The ambitions of players tend to be to win trophies, work with the best managers and share a dressing room with elite colleagues. Kroos is not stupid - he will have heard the of the aversion to David Moyes’ training methods. He will have seen the difference in quality between the two squads, and he will know his prospects for silverware are far greater with Munich.
This is not to say Manchester United to not hold any allure or attraction - they do. They are one of the most iconic clubs in the world, and will have their time again. But pursuits of the most premium performers will continue to prove futile until a total overhaul can be completed.
Yes, they were able to sign Juan Mata in January. It was certainly a positive start, but one that was achievable due to Chelsea’s willingness to sell. A coup indeed to recruit a player of Mata’s quality, but a transaction that would not have happened were United rivalling Chelsea for the title.
But it is not a coincidence that neither Fabregas or Kroos are, or will be, Manchester United players. The market for players like these does not really exist at present, and particularly not for a club currently only able to trade on their esteemed name, and not their future prospects.