What attracts a player to a certain team? Is it the history of the club? Champions League football? The manager?
The answers to these questions will probably become a little clearer around Old Trafford over the next nine months as David Moyes attempts to work his magic in the transfer market.
The new Manchester United boss received plenty of criticism for his dealings, or lack of, over the summer. United’s last-minute bids smacked of panic, but now the former Everton coach has behind him the one thing he needs to conduct successful business: time.
The Scot prides himself on his diligent approach to transfer dealings. It’s not his style to throw money on a whim. He tends to scout players to the point where the risk of them flopping is at its lowest.
Moyes will head into January with a much clearer idea of his targets than he did last summer. He has had several months to get to know his team and to pinpoint the areas that need bolstering.
But for United fans, the question now is: Will Moyes be able to attract star players in a way that Sir Alex Ferguson did?
According to Nick Lustig in the Daily Star, Moyes is set to do battle with Barcelona's Gerardo Martino and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger for the signing of Ilkay Gundogan, and the Scot’s allure will likely be tested for the first time since he took the reins at Old Trafford.
Barcelona recently joined the race for the talented Borussia Dortmund midfielder, who could be set for a move away from Westfalenstadion.
Gundogan, who hasn’t played since August with a back injury, has yet to sign an extension on his current contract, which expires in 2015—per ESPN FC—and the German club will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the Robert Lewandowski saga.
Gundogan, despite his recent injury concerns, is exactly what United need. The Red Devils are lacking a creative force in the centre of the park, and the German would fill that hole nicely.
At just 23, Gundogan still has learning to do, but he has amassed a wealth of experience in his relatively young career.
He isn’t a tough tackler, but similarly to Michael Carrick, he breaks up the play with his positional awareness. His first touch is exquisite, and he influences the play from deep with his vast range of passing.
Gundogan loves to charge forward with the ball at his feet, taking on defenders as he goes. Last season, he bagged six goals and five assists for club and country—per ESPN FC.
If Moyes can secure a marquee name such as Gundogan, who is believed to be valued at £25million, then it would offer United some fresh impetus.
It would also convince those around Old Trafford that the club can still attract star power in the face of competition from rivals.