Sport Soccer

Saturday 17 February 2018

United start season without new signings if needs be – Moyes

Fabregas: In demand from United
Fabregas: In demand from United

Mark Ogden

David Moyes admits he is prepared to start the season without a new addition to his Manchester United squad after insisting that no decision has been made on whether to lodge a third offer for Cesc Fabregas.

United's bids of £26m and £30m for Fabregas have been turned down by Barcelona with the Spanish club's president, Sandro Rosell, formally rejecting both offers and relaying his intention to keep the former Arsenal captain at the Nou Camp.

Despite lodging a £12m bid for Everton defender Leighton Baines last month, which was rejected, and attempting to sign Fabregas and Spain U-21 midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who ultimately left Barcelona for Bayern Munich, Moyes has been unable to add to United's squad since succeeding Alex Ferguson as manager.

Privately, United are understood to be confident that a deal for Fabregas can still be struck, but Moyes admits he has no qualms about starting the new campaign with his current squad if Barcelona continue to resist his efforts to sign the 26-year-old.

"I couldn't tell you if there will be another bid (for Fabregas), but obviously we'll take stock of it and decide what we're going to do next," Moyes said.

"I've never at any time said that we would get him. We have just made offers that have been rejected, so we'll take stock of the situation and we'll go from there.

"We hoped we would have (signed players by now), but what we've got here already is a really good squad of players. We're hoping to add to it, and I'm confident we will do before the transfer window shuts. We've got until September 2 this year, that's transfer deadline day, so I'm confident we'll have players in by then."

Moyes insisted that United's success in winning the Premier League by a convincing margin last season had given him the confidence to start the new campaign with his current squad.

"It is the squad that finished 15 points clear at top of the Premier League, so yes, I'm confident with the squad. I have also got a few more players that I've not even met yet."

Speaking in Hong Kong ahead of today's friendly against FC Kitchee, Moyes confirmed that United captain Nemanja Vidic would return from a sciatica problem by playing in a reserve team friendly against Crewe Alexandra tonight.

United's senior squad completes its three-week tour of the Far East and Australia by facing Kitchee on the controversial pitch at the Hong Kong Stadium – a surface described as a "killer pitch" by Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio during the Barclays Asia Trophy over the weekend.

Despite concerns over the condition of the surface, which forced United to cancel their planned training session yesterday, Moyes claimed that he was happy for today's game to go ahead.

"We'll play. It has not rained and it has been very warm so we expect it to be drying out a bit now. The only problem with it drying out is that it might become bobbly, but we'll see," he said.

Meanwhile, United legend Bobby Charlton expects striker Wayne Rooney to stay at the club. Charlton, now a United director, said: "I was hoping one day that he might score as many goals as I had and that would have been really nice if it was at our club – and I'm still thinking that way."

Rooney's tally of 197 goals is 52 short of Charlton's club record. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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