TOKYO: David Moyes always knew that he would be compared with Sir Alex Ferguson once Manchester United’s competitive season began. He has conceded there is a ‘fear factor’ involved in having succeeded the greatest club manager of modern times.
What Moyes may not have expected was that he would be compared with Ferguson in terms of transfer attraction. Thus far his only signing has been the young Uruguayan fullback Guillermo Varela and that deal had been set up before his arrival.
Ferguson had bequeathed to Moyes the difficult legacy of Wayne Rooney’s future but Moyes has yet to come even close to any of his key targets. That compares questionably with the way many players rushed to work with Ferguson – such as Robin Van Persie only last summer.
Moyes lost out to Bayern Munich in the contest for Thiago Alcantara, has been rebuffed by Barcelona in pursuit of Cesc Fabregas and has made little progress in trying to persuade his old club Everton to part with leftback Leighton Baines and/or Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini.
Talk of a possible return for Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid has been dismissed as fanciful by Jose Mourinho. Chelsea’s new ex-Madrid manager said: “Real Madrid are such a rich club they don’t need to sell. I know Ronaldo loves Manchester United and I know he loves the Premier League — but I think he is going to stay.”
Ed Woodward, United’s executive deputy chairman, flew back early from the club’s tour of the Far East to step up the transfer work but, so far, the only new option to emerge is a possible move for Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye.
United’s lack of progress contrasts with the activity among their two main league title challengers. Chelsea have landed André Schürrle, Marco Van Ginkle and Mark Schwarzer while Manchester City have spent £86.9m on Jesús Navas, Fernandinho, Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo.
United defender Phil Jones has insisted that such comparisons have had no effect on the squad. He said: “The lads are not bothered by which players other teams are signing. It’s totally irrelevant. We’re just concentrating on ourselves . . . we’ll be fine.”
One man in whom United have no interest is Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez after his racist comment row with Patrice Evra two years ago.
Suarez remains a target for Arsenal with Real Madrid in the background. Arsenal have offered £30m plus £1 which triggers a release clause notification in his contract. But Liverpool are not obliged to sell. They value Suarez at around £45m which makes Madrid more likely eventual purchasers than the Gunners.