Manchester United are determined to leave no stone unturned in their quest to acquire a playmaker and, after suffering two rejections in their public courtship of Cesc Fabregas, they’ve resorted to knocking on the door of Barcelona’s arch-nemeses Real Madrid to solve their problem.
Silky German star Mesut Ozil is who they want and have tabled an offer of £40m to test Los Merengues’ resolve.
After the Madrid club were taken to the bank in order to sign Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, however, it’s likely that they’ll show little mercy to the English champions – who are priced at 5/2 to retain the Premier League title with Ladbrokes – and their hefty offer will need beefing up a touch before they consider accepting.
A marquee signing he would be, but convincing Ozil to leave Real would be another issue altogether, with the player giving no indication of unhappiness in the Spanish capital, where he has been an integral member of a trophy-winning side since moving from Werder Bremen in 2010.
With this pursuit destined to end in disappointment, United are also keeping tabs on Willian’s situation as he looks to engineer a move away from crisis club Anzhi Makhachkala.
The Dagestan outfit must slash their gargantuan wage budget after their funding was severely cut and Liverpool have opened talks with the player over a cut-price move.
The Brazilian international has proven Champions League pedigree and can operate effectively cutting inside from out wide or floating around in behind the striker.
Should the Red Devils choose to rival their bitter foes in the chase to snap up one of what will surely be Europe’s most sought-after talents, they have the financial muscle and on-pitch superiority to blow the Merseysiders out of the proverbial water.
With so much onus being placed on their need to sign a playmaker, it seems a no-brainer that they should favour Willian over Ozil. The latter is of a higher calibre, true, but there isn’t too big a gulf in their talents to warrant the monstrous difference in price between the pair.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date