Manchester United manager David Moyes is hoping to hear some positive news about his pursuit of Cesc Fabregas within the next couple of days.
As United’s week-long stay in Sydney took them to a public training session at the Allianz Stadium, which attracted more support than the seasonal average of any side that plays there regularly, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward set to work on the urgent transfer business that demanded his early return to Europe.
Given Woodward was due back in the UK on Sunday anyway, it was a significant move on his part which suggested a major piece of business was in the offing.
And, speaking at a press conference to preview tomorrow’s encounter with the A-League All Stars at ANZ Stadium, Moyes for the first time endorsed the fact United had made a bid for Fabregas.
“I couldn’t tell you exactly,” said Moyes, when asked for a progress update.
“I am in contact with the chief executive who has been dealing with it. I will hopefully know a little bit more in the next day or so.”
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova claimed earlier this week that Fabregas had informed him of a wish to remain at the Nou Camp, a position which was subsequently endorsed by Fabregas’ former manager at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger.
Barcelona vice-president Josep-Maria Bartomeu said today in the Spanish media that they would not entertain offers for the player and that he was “non-transferable”.
United, however, are working on an alternative assessment of the situation.
They are of the opinion Fabregas is open to the idea of a move, and Barcelona might well be too given their need to balance the books following Neymar’s £50m summer arrival.
Speculation about a mammoth bid for Gareth Bale continues to swirl too, while Everton duo Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines have also been the subject of repeated links.
So far, United’s only signing of the Moyes era has been Uruguay U-20 defender Guillermo Varela, who is now on a break after competing at the recent World Cup tournament in Turkey which England were so poor at.
With less than a month remaining before the Barclays Premier League opener at Swansea, followed closely by meetings with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, Moyes is aware he is behind schedule.
He is hopeful of addressing that situation quite soon.
“We are trying very hard to make some additions to the squad,” he said.
“Hopefully there will be some good news in the not-too-distant future.”
Yet, in exactly the same way as they hope no means yes in Fabregas’ case, the Red Devils are in the same position with Wayne Rooney.
Currently back in Manchester for rehabilitation work on the hamstring injury that forced him home less than 24 hours after his arrival in Thailand last week, there has been no indication Rooney is any less angry about being depicted as Robin van Persie’s understudy than he was when he became aware of Moyes’ comments at the weekend.
If there is no softening of attitude towards words Moyes did not intend to be reported the way they have, it is impossible to see how the 27-year-old can remain at Old Trafford without being a divisive presence at a time when the new manager is trying to make the transition process as smooth as possible.
The intricacies of Rooney’s situation have been debated around the world, including Australia, where fans have turned out in their droves to catch a glimpse of United’s players at any given opportunity.
Around 20,000 paid AUS$15 Australian dollars (€10.50) to watch them train, with tomorrow’s game an 83,500 sell-out in the same stadium in which the British and Irish Lions sealed their momentous series win a fortnight ago.
Moyes has confirmed his intention to hand Phil Jones a start tomorrow, but last season’s top scorer Van Persie is only set to be a substitute after a hard first week’s training following an extended summer break.