Manchester United target Luke Shaw and Edinson Cavani

Club pursuing Southampton full-back, Uruguayan striker from PSG and Cesc Fabregas

Southampton’s Luke Shaw:  prospective transfer would make him the highest paid teenager in English football history Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Southampton’s Luke Shaw: prospective transfer would make him the highest paid teenager in English football history Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Wed, Apr 23, 2014, 23:00

Manchester United intend to plough ahead with their transfer business during the potentially long process of waiting for a new manager to start – almost three months in Louis van Gaal’s case – and their extensive inquiries include exploring the possibility of whether Paris Saint-Germain might sell Edinson Cavani.

United confidently expect to close a deal of around €36.5 m for Luke Shaw, offering the teenage Southampton full-back a lucrative financial package that could be worth as much as €120,000-a-week over five years. The offer will be difficult for Chelsea to match bearing in mind their issues over keeping in line with Uefa’s financial fair play rules. Ed Woodward, United’s chief executive, has been made aware that Cavani might be available and is also tempted to look again at Cesc Fabregas’s position at Barcelona.

Although United were accused of handling the process badly last summer, the club remain convinced that Fabregas was keen to join them only for the proposed move to break down because of politics and sensitivities with Barcelona. Their interest is sustained in part because Robin van Persie, Fabregas’s close friend, has reported that the former Arsenal midfielder wanted the move, using the striker as an intermediary, and Woodward was told exactly the same by the relevant agents.

United failed with bids of €26m and €36m, as well as making a verbal offer in the region of €43m, and could not persuade Fabregas to go public or try to force the issue. This time they will approach it more cautiously but, again, with the sense that both Fabregas and Barcelona are more open to the idea than their public utterances might lead people to suspect.

What is increasingly clear is that United realise they will have to spend significant sums of money if one of Van Gaal or Carlo Ancelotti, the two managers uppermost in their thoughts, is to repair the damage of the David Moyes era.

Woodward is confident that two deals have already provisionally been put in place, though those names have not been revealed. They have interest in several high-calibre players such as Marco Reus and Ilkay Gundogan at Borussia Dortmund, Toni Kroos at Bayern Munich and Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho.

Chelsea were considered favourites to land Shaw, a lifelong Chelsea supporter. Yet the terms plus the lure of becoming Patrice Evra’s instant successor at left-back have boosted confidence at Old Trafford that the 18-year-old England prospect will join, becoming the highest paid teenager in English football.

Preliminary talks
The priority for United is in midfield, as well as finding replacements for the departing Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, but United have already held preliminary talks to ascertain whether Cavani might be prised away from PSG. The fee would be high, potentially €73m for a 27-year-old, in complete contrast to the policy that existed at Old Trafford a few years ago whereby the club simply would not countenance paying huge amounts for a player of that age.

Although United are not short of forwards, the reason for their interest is two-fold. First, there is a recognition that the team have lacked dynamism and need an injection of directness and pace in attack. Second, Woodward wants to bring a superstar to the club and his ambition of bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester seems a long way away.

Whoever takes over from Ryan Giggs – who will hold his first press conference as interim manager tomorrow – will be involved in the process as soon as possible. In Ancelotti’s case, the earliest that could happen would be the end of May. For Van Gaal, it would be even longer, as he prepares to take Holland to the World Cup finals. United, deliberating between the two, intend to make their first approaches in the next two weeks.

The debate over Adnan Januzaj’s international future appears to have been settled after the Belgium coach, Marc Wilmots, took to Twitter yesterday to announce the teenager has committed himself to the land of his birth.
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