By Paul Clennam
Manchester United have been rebuffed after making late enquiries about the availability of Porto midfielder Fernando and Real Madrid left-back Fabio Coentrao.
Just days after sealing the £37.1 million signing of playmaker Juan Mata, United manager David Moyes continues to probe the transfer market in the hope of bringing in another player or two before Friday’s deadline.
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Fernando is out of contract in the summer but United could face stiff competition for the midfielder's signature, with reported interest from Juventus, Inter and Napoli.
However, Porto have dismissed any notion of the deal being completed this week. Having sold fellow midfielder Lucho Gonzalez to the Qatar Stars League at the weekend, the Portuguese outfit are reluctant to sell Fernando with so little time to find a replacement.
Equally, United’s pursuit of Real Madrid left-back Coentrao appears doomed.
Moyes’ interest in the Portuguese full-back dates back to the summer when he narrowly failed to bring Coentrao to Old Trafford with a last-ditch loan offer on the last day of the transfer window.
United have continued to monitor the 25-year-old’s availability, but despite the player’s desire to leave the Bernabeu for Manchester, Real boss Carlo Ancelotti has blocked Coentrao’s hopes of sealing a move.
And that has only strengthened the Red Devils' pursuit of Southampton full-back Luke Shaw. As revealed by Goal, the current champions have moved to open preliminary talks over a £20m move for the highly-rated 18-year-old.
Any deal for Shaw will be a tough one to pull off this month, though, with Southampton reluctant to sell their star asset and Chelsea strong rivals for the player’s signature in the event the south-coast club were to entertain offers.