Unless Manchester United have got word that former Old Trafford favourite Cristiano Ronaldo is ready to return from a five-season stint at Real Madrid, then there’s no way the deposed Premier League champions will be breaking any world transfer records this summer.
Red Devils money-man Ed Woodward spun himself into an awful muddle during a recent press conference, when the former J. P. Morgan investment banker assured fans by explaining:
“It’s difficult to deal in hypotheticals based on lots of different things…The reality is that we’re not afraid of spending significant amounts of money in the transfer market… Whether it’s a record or not doesn’t really resonate with us… I stand by what I said – there is no budget.”
The off-beat comment regarding records is an all-too-easy one for Woodward to make, with no player currently available worth near the £85m-plus it took Real Madrid to prise Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur last summer.
However, it just so happens that two superstars United have been persistently linked with lately have reportedly been priced at a combined value of £86m by their clubs.
Real Madrid’s Angel di Maria is clearly reluctant to leave for Paris Saint-Germain, who are said to be in for the Argentine World Cup star to the tune of £47m.
Los Blancos are even more keen to offload the Spock-a-like midfielder now James Rodriguez has completed his £71m move from Monaco, with a number of media outlets of the opinion that United are the front runners for Di Maria’s signature.
Meanwhile, Italian website Tuttosport claim that the Red Devils’ pursuit of Juventus’ midfield enforcer Arturo Vidal is still very much on, and could go through if Woodward stumps up the similarly-princely sum of – yes, you’ve guessed it – £39m.
The double-swoop wouldn’t break any records, but it would provide United’s executive vice-president with evidence that his claims weren’t that of a blowhard.
Louis van Gaal’s men are currently 11/2 to lift their 14th Premier League title at the end of the new coach’s first term in charge, but that price would tumble off the nearest cliff if the services of Di Maria and Vidal are bestowed upon the Dutchman before the start of September.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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