While Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool have all improved—though the latter two could still lose Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez, respectively—the defending champions haven't made a major signing this summer.
But they have had to deal with the possibility that Wayne Rooney would depart the club since May, surely a distraction in a summer when the Red Devils are also trying to transition to new manager David Moyes.
With the above in mind, let's take a look at the latest United transfer news and rumours.
Once Again, Manchester United Want You to Know They Won't Sell Wayne Rooney
For the 1,574,372th time this summer, Moyes has publicly said that Rooney is not for sale despite Chelsea's interest and a summer full of speculation suggesting the star forward would depart the club.
From Sky Sports:
Manchester United manager David Moyes has reiterated that striker Wayne Rooney is not for sale. Chelsea have submitted two unsuccessful bids for Rooney, who has not featured for United in their pre-season games, although he did start for England in Wednesday's friendly victory over Scotland.
Speaking at the Premier League launch in London, Moyes told Sky Sports News: "There have been no more developments and we don't want any more developments because we have told everybody—which I have said before—he is not for sale."
But don't worry, folks—the speculation will continue right until the current transfer window expires. And if he isn't sold this summer, the speculation may continue until January. And if he isn't sold in January—and doesn't sign an extension—the speculation will continue right through next summer, surely.
Manchester United Chasing Big Names in the Midfield
And now, to the more interesting stuff.
While the Rooney business is downright exhausting at this point, it appears Manchester United could be making inquiries about Mesut Ozil and Luka Modric of Real Madrid and Marouane Fellaini of Everton.
That should get United fans pretty excited, especially the prospect of adding the dynamic Ozil.
From Miguel Delaney of ESPN:
Manchester United have made contact with Real Madrid about signing one of Luka Modric or Mesut Ozil, Old Trafford sources have told ESPN FC.
The move signals an escalation of United’s attempts to finally complete transfer business in what has been a frustrating summer.
ESPN FC has been informed that the club is still intent on making three signings before the transfer window closes on September 2, with an all-round creative midfielder the top priority. It is for this reason that United are now negotiating on a few fronts.
United also remain relaxed about eventually signing Marouane Fellaini to add presence to their midfield. The Belgium midfielder is keen to join the Premier League champions, but there remain some complications to be overcome as regards to his Everton contract. Roberto Martinez confirmed on Thursday that his release clause has expired.
All three players would bring a new dynamic to United. Ozil is a versatile playmaker who can slot behind a central striker or play out wide on the wing. Fellaini is a box-to-box midfielder who makes driving runs forward and is an absolute beast in the air, especially when he ventures into the box.
And Modric is a deep-lying playmaker that can cut through a defense with smart, incisive passing (and add the occasional goal from distance, as well).
Any one of these three would be an excellent addition, with Ozil the most talented but Modric or perhaps Fellaini better suited to United from a tactical standpoint (unless Moyes planned on utilizing Ozil primarily out wide and allowing Shinji Kagawa or Rooney to remain in the hole behind the striker).
In a very quiet summer outside of the Rooney saga, United fans would surely be glad to have any one of these three players.
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