David Moyes Says Major Stars Want to Join Wayne Rooney at Manchester United

Ben BlackmoreFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2014

Manchester United's manager David Moyes takes to the touchline before his team's English Premier League soccer match against Fulham at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Sunday Feb. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

David Moyes is beginning to sound like he knows something we don’t. Rarely has a manager looked so confident—verging on smug—when he talks about the prospect of signing world-class talent this summer.

Moyes has promised for a while that big-name players will arrive at Manchester United this summer, but on Friday he revealed Europe’s top stars have been on the phone pleading for the chance to play at Old Trafford.

Following news of Wayne Rooney’s new contract at United, Moyes was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail’s Chris Wheeler:

I said to you, and you’ll get to know when I say it I mean it, that we’d be in for all the best players in the world – and that hasn’t changed.

All the top players want to play for Manchester United. I can’t tell you the amount of phone calls I’ve had from top players around the world who want to play for Manchester United.

Jon Super/Associated Press

This isn’t the first time Moyes has made such a claim. During his efforts to bring Juan Mata to Manchester, the Scot was quoted by ESPN as saying:

The amount of big players wanting to join United is incredible. Maybe players want to go for the money to other clubs but if you ask them where they really want to be: they want to wear the badge of Manchester United.

Moyes knows something. Coaches don’t regularly speak with such assurance when it comes to transfers.

The United boss knows such a statement puts his head on a chopping board. You can’t tell fans the world’s top players all want to join the club, then fail to deliver any of them.

Moyes has already had one epic summer failure when he spoke openly of attempts to sign Cesc Fabregas, Ander Herrera and Thiago Alcantara—per talkSPORT—yet landed none of them.

Once is naivety. Twice would be a categorical embarrassment.

Jon Super/Associated Press

Moyes is expected to have at least £100 million to spend in order to reinvigorate his United flops this summer, per the ExpressRichard Tanner, which raises the question of which players he might bring in.

A centre-back has to be near the top of his list of priorities. Nemanja Vidic is leaving, Rio Ferdinand’s career is all but over. United only have Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, none of whom have proved they can lead a back four.

Eliaquim Mangala of Porto has been linked, per the Metro’s Hannah Duncan, while David Kent of the Daily Mail reports United and Manchester City will battle for Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk.

Neither of those names would be considered among the world’s "top players," though, so it is further forward—specifically the midfield and attack—that we look for United’s potential blockbuster additions.

In the centre of midfield, Toni Kroos of Bayern Munich would certainly be the "wow" signing that could lead a whole new era of success for United. His recent display against Arsenal produced mind-boggling stats: 

However, Bayern boss Pep Guardiola spoke positively of Kroos’ future in the aftermath of that match—per Stephan Uersfeld of ESPN FC—and as he enters the best years of his career, it would be a huge coup on the part of Moyes to tempt the midfielder to a club who will likely be watching the Champions League on TV next season.

A more likely target might be Kroos’ teammate Thomas Mueller, who recently expressed his discontent at being on Bayern’s bench, per Sky Sports (h/t to Miles Chambers of Goal.com):

Of course I am not happy with it. But he (Guardiola) knows and is aware that I am a total team player. A match lasts longer than 60 minutes and I am happy I could come in and help the team.

It might prove no coincidence that United stalwart Ferdinand tweeted praise for Mueller following his late header at Arsenal:

Marco Reus and Ilkay Gundogan of Borussia Dortmund would be two other attainable "top players" for Moyes, as reported by Metro. Dortmund are not the force they were last season and are currently 17 points off top spot in the Bundesliga.

Moyes did not give the famous United No. 7 shirt to record signing Mata, and Reus would be a perfect fit for a jersey previously worn by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and George Best.

Lastly, Edinson Cavani’s representatives are said to have spoken with United officials over a possible summer move, per Eliot Rothwell of the Daily Mirror.

Cavani finds himself playing second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic at PSG, and he would potentially form a frighteningly aggressive partnership with Rooney if Robin van Persie’s recent injury problems edge him toward the United exit door.

Certainly Moyes has plenty of work to do this summer. United are not even close to being title contenders this term, but there is a self-assured look on the Scot’s face that suggests some of his summer transfer work might already be done.