Manchester United will be forced to pay top dollar for Luke Shaw and Miranda after Southampton and Atletico Madrid confirmed they don't need to sell their top stars.
The Red Devils, who have been consistently linked with Shaw over the past few months, look set to face an increased battle for the player's signature after a potential deal "stalled," according to Jamie Jackson of the Guardian.
Ralph Krueger, chairman at St Mary's, indicates that Southampton will dictate whether any of their players leave the club, reported by ESPN:
It's very clear that we are in control of all the player transfers. All the top players are under long-term contracts. Any transfers that take place will be under our terms. We will decide the terms to potential transfers in and out of the club.
Krueger reiterated that Southampton "do not need to sell," telling United in no uncertain terms that Shaw's future will be difficult to secure. While many presumed Patrice Evra's new one-year contract was granted to help Shaw settle in, the Frenchman could be a permanent fixture in Louis van Gaal's team, per Reuters and via the Guardian.
A similar story is coming from Atletico Madrid, whose best players appear to be under siege from across Europe. Diego Simeone's men are likely to be among the most wanted on the continent after winning La Liga and reaching the Champions League final, success that has produced reports suggesting United wish to sign centre-back Miranda, per Rhys Turrell of the Daily Star.
Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail believes such rumours are untrue, but if they turn out to be legitimate, Van Gaal has a difficult task on his hands. Gil Marin, CEO at the Vicente Calderon, has crushed reports saying the club will sell premium talent, despite Atletico being over €500 million in debt, per Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC:
Fortunately this club does not need to sell any of its players. Those who do not want to continue with us we can only go along with their release clause in their contracts.
We are not going to negotiate with other clubs about the departure of players we want to stay in our team. We do not want, nor do we need, to sell any player. Whoever wants to leave Atletico must do so against the wishes of Atletico.
Marin indicates the Spanish champions will wait for rivals to trigger release clauses, a risky tactic in a market where value for money is difficult to ascertain. Corrigan suggests the Atletico chief may be bluffing:
While Shaw and Miranda remain tightly guarded, most United supporters will only be worried about missing out on the former. Shaw has proven his worth across two seasons in the Premier League, a remarkable feat considering he is only 18 years old.
His boundless energy, willingness to attack and natural ability on the ball ensures he would fit in well at United, who need an injection of youth across the next year.
Miranda, who is heading toward 30, is undeniably one of the best centre-backs around right now. Even so, paying a mega fee for the defender seems a poor choice when United would have to replace him a few years.
The club needs to buy—everybody knows that—a factor that potential sellers will use to their advantage. One of Van Gaal's primary tasks is to capture top-quality talent for decent prices, something his predecessor, David Moyes, struggled to do.