The Toni Kroos transfer is fast becoming this window`s saga already. Depending on which newspaper you read, the deal is `off`, or the deal is `done`, so who do you believe?
Having spent years trying to second guess managers, I have found that the most stress-free way to deal with this is simply believe it when you see it. In other words, when I see Toni Kroos in a United shirt on Sky Sports News I will believe it. I may be cynical, but after last season`s debacle starring two relative newbies in the shape of Moyes and Woodward, chasing around after delusional transfer targets, I have realised that nothing is real in football, especially transfers, unless you see the player in your club`s shirt, signing the contract.
So what is happening about Toni Kroos? Well according to early reports from mainstream tabloids like the Star and the Express, the deal was already done and dusted. This was repeated by the rest at a later stage. Yesterday afternoon, comments started to appear on Twitter feeds that the deal had been dropped, with some suggesting that this had come directly from Van Gaal. At the same time, Sky Sports News contradicted this line by stating that their `sources` told them that the deal was proceeding as normal.
Looking at the facts that we do know, it is accepted that Kroos was already a target of David Moyes scouting network. Moyes had plenty of faults, but strangely, his scouting system was one of the best around. There had been contact from Manchester United because Kroos`s contract runs out next year and he has stalled on his new offer. Bayern Munich has quite bluntly told him that this is their final offer and they will not offer any further wages increase. They have also stated that they are not willing to sell him this season. We have not heard anything that can be verified from the player except that today he has intimated that he will stay at Bayern for another season.
There are two scenarios. Firstly, it is possible that Van Gaal has, in fact, pulled the plug on the deal, because it was never his deal in the first place and he has his own `list` evidently of players he wants at Old Trafford.
Secondly, it is unlikely that Bayern will let a player worth around £30m now, see out the remainder of his contract and leave on a free at the end of next season. Moreover, he would legally be able to talk to other clubs next January. Would they really let this happen? I don`t think so.
So, he has been offered a new deal by Bayern, which he has refused. They have refused to increase their offer. If things are just left as they are, he leaves for free at the end of next season, adding further changing room disruption by touting himself around after January.
In my opinion, there is a bit of gamesmanship going on here. Bayern know they will have to sell now or lose the player for nothing, so they are holding out for a higher fee. United have `leaked` that they are pulling out of the deal to give Bayern the `hurry up` and get on with the deal that has been offered.
My understanding is that the player wants the move, but the two clubs cannot agree on a transfer fee. The most likely outcome is a compromise where everybody appears to have got what they want. This is how most transfers like this happen. United will have to increase their offer to around £30m and Bayern will have to lower their sights to £30m.
Quite how long this sabre-rattling will go on for we will have to wait and see, remembering that the official transfer window has not even opened yet and we have a World Cup intervening in 3 weeks` time.
My recommendation for United fans is that I think the transfer will go ahead at some stage, but I will not be getting worked up about it until I see the player in a United shirt at Old Trafford.