LONDON: Manchester City are making more progress so far in the transfer market than neighbours and champions United.
City close to ending confusion over the future of Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic – and have even been linked with Zlatan Ibrahimovic – while United are losing out on Thiago Alcantara and uncertainty lingers over Wayne Rooney.
Jovetic, 23-year-old Montenegro forward, was a target for Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool before City overtook their Premier rivals with a £27m bid. He has been offered a five-year, £120,000-week contract to fill the attacking gap left by the sale of Carlos Tevez to Juventus.
Ibrahimovic will also be on City’s shopping list if reports are confirmed that he has fallen out with French champions Paris Saint-Germain over their signing of Edinson Cavani from Napoli.
City can afford it. They are planning to increase their revenue-generating options by expanding capacity at their Eastlands home from 47,000 to 60,000.
United have already made a start to their pre-season work, losing 1-0 on Saturday to a Singha All-Stars XI in Bangkok. This was their first game since David Moyes succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson as manager and Moyes was stunned by the ‘Beatlemania’ scale of welcome the team received in Thailand.
Moyes and new chief executive Ed Woodward are in continuing discussion over transfer interests. The signing of England under-21 star Wilfried Zaha was organised before Ferguson’s departure as was the arrival of Uruguayan fullback Guillermo Varela.
United have resigned themselves that Spain’s European under-21-winning captain Alcantara will head for Bayern Munich and may reopen their interest in fellow Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas. They are also pursuing Benfica’s Argentinian central defender Ezequiel Garay.
The Rooney issue remains an irritant for United.
Moyes’s hopes of reintegrating the England striker within the squad have been upset by a hamstring injury which forced the player’s return home.
Chelsea are also in Bangkok and restored manager Jose Mourinho has refused to hide his admiration for Rooney.
Mourinho, asked about Rooney, said: “It’s not correct to talk too much about a player who is under contract at another club. But I always say what I think and, being fast and direct, I like him very much.”
Moyes snapped back: “Unless I was speaking double-Dutch, I have said: ‘Wayne Rooney is not for sale.’ I have really covered all the things on Wayne.”