Manchester United have made contact with Real Madrid about signing one of Luka Modric or Mesut Ozil, Old Trafford sources have told ESPN FC.
The move signals an escalation of United’s attempts to finally complete transfer business in what has been a frustrating summer.
ESPN FC has been informed that the club is still intent on making three signings before the transfer window closes on September 2, with an all-round creative midfielder the top priority. It is for this reason that United are now negotiating on a few fronts.
David Moyes alluded to what one source has described as the club “keeping several plates spinning” at the Premier League launch in London on Thursday.
“I’m confident we'll have players in before the start,” he said. “We're involved in several players we're looking at and that will continue. Will we get them before the deadline? I hope so, but we're working very hard to do so. It was always going to be a difficult window for me personally. I joined on July 1, which has given me a short period.”
As first reported in the Daily Telegraph, the English champions retain an interest in Cesc Fabregas. Although the Barca playmaker appeared to have made his refusal to leave Barcelona unequivocal when he told the media earlier this month that he had “never considered leaving”, United have again been sufficiently encouraged that his omission from any of the side’s August games could change the situation, and that the Catalans may be minded to accept an offer of over £40 million.
As it stands, though, United’s best chance would appear to lie with Madrid star Modric. Although it has emerged that there have been lines of dialogue open with Ozil’s representatives since June, the Germany international -- whom Sir Alex Ferguson tried to sign in the summer of 2010 -- is known to be one of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez’s favourite players.
At the same time, the Spanish club’s public pursuit of Gareth Bale could radically alter the circumstances. Despite Real’s utter confidence in having the funds to eventually capture the Tottenham Hotspur star this summer, they may seek to ease the financial burden by offloading more players. It is this that has encouraged United, as well as the feeling that coach Carlo Ancelotti may have to recalibrate his formation to deploy the Wales international.
United also remain relaxed about eventually signing Marouane Fellaini to add presence to their midfield. The Belgium midfielder is keen to join the Premier League champions, but there remain some complications to be overcome as regards his Everton contract. Roberto Martinez confirmed on Thursday that his release clause has expired.