Toni Kroos produced a midfield masterclass as Bayern Munich picked apart a 10-man Arsenal side in front of watching Manchester United boss David Moyes on Wednesday, as reported by the Daily Mail's Neil Ashton.
Kroos purred like a well-oiled engine at the heart of the Bayern midfield, stroking the ball around before clipping home a delightful opening goal.
Thomas Muller’s late header gave Bayern a 2-0 win on the night, and Moyes was on hand to watch the German midfielder:
However, Bayern boss Pep Guardiola insists the player wants to stay at Bayern, and claims all parties are singing from the same hymn sheet, per Stephan Uersfeld of ESPN FC:
“We all want him to prolong [his stay], and he also wants that, I am very positive about it. The club, we all want that," Guardiola said.
United were strongly linked to Kroos throughout the January transfer window after Moyes met with one of the player’s agents, Sascha Breese, according to Bild (h/t Uersfeld).
Kroos has reportedly been at odds with Bayern over the signing of a new contract, and Guardiola had fanned the flames regarding Kroos' potential exit when—on Jan. 30—he commented via Sky Sports:
"He is an important player but things can move fast in football. Here today, gone tomorrow."
Certainly Bayern would be crazy to allow the 24-year-old to leave after his sumptuous display against Arsenal at the Emirates.
Opta Stats sums up how impressive Kroos was:
147 - Toni Kroos completed the same number of passes as the 12 Arsenal outfield players combined tonight (147). Master. (via @JamesMawFFT)— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 19, 2014
Rarely do you see a pass map quite like this:
Toni Kroos completed as many passes over 90 minutes as all 12 of Arsenal's outfield players combined (147) pic.twitter.com/wRoiARczn2— James Maw (@JamesMawFFT) February 19, 2014
Moyes’ presence at Wednesday’s game does not confirm that the United boss was solely monitoring Kroos. However, United have already played Arsenal twice this season, so there is no reason to scout the Gunners.
The United boss may fear a future meeting with Bayern in the Champions League, but more likely he was scouting a potential transfer target that the Red Devils so desperately need.
Other than Michael Carrick, no United midfielder can be proud of his form this season, during a campaign that has almost certainly ruled Moyes’ men out of the Champions League next season.
Tom Cleverley, Marouane Fellaini and—previously—Anderson have all failed to impress, while Darren Fletcher remains a long way from his former self.
Is Kroos too good for Man Utd?
The lack of Champions League football next term—United are 11 points adrift of fourth-placed Liverpool—is surely the biggest stumbling block to a potential deal with Kroos.
Bayern’s talented midfielder is fast becoming one of the best in the world in his position, so it would be a giant leap on his part to sacrifice his place in Europe’s top competition.
Sporting Intelligence highlights the conversation Moyes would have to overcome should he enter negotiations with Kroos:
Moyes: "So Toni, in the unlikely event we don't make the Europa League, we've got a brilliant tour in America coming up. They'll love you."— sportingintelligence (@sportingintel) February 19, 2014
If Kroos does opt for a new challenge, he would likely stroll into any side in world football. Moyes is said to have a £100 million war chest to spend in the summer, per the Telegraph's Mark Ogden, but money may not be enough to land a player of the German’s calibre.