MANCHESTER United manager David Moyes has suffered his first major blows since taking charge, after striker Wayne Rooney was sidelined by injury and key target Thiago Alcantara snubbed a move to Old Trafford.
Rooney was last night set to fly home from United’s tour of Asia less than 24 hours after arriving in Bangkok, having suffered a hamstring injury in the team’s first training session in Thailand.
The 27-year-old has been ruled out for a month and now faces an uphill battle to be fit for the start of the new season, with United set to meet Wigan in the Community Shield at Wembley on 11 August.
Rooney’s injury could also put off potential buyers – Arsenal and Chelsea have been credited with interest in the England star – or at least prompt them to delay any transfer moves.
Moyes, who takes charge of his first match since succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson tomorrow against a Thai All Star XI in Bangkok, also looks set to miss out on principal transfer target Thiago.
United had been expected to land the coveted 22-year-old midfielder, who has decided to leave Barcelona in search of more first-team opportunities and is available at a knock-down price of £15.5m.
But the son of former Brazil star Mazinho appears to have had a change of heart following a late intervention by European champions Bayern Munich and Pep Guardiola, his former mentor at Barca.
Bayern boss Guardiola yesterday admitted his move for Thiago, whose hat-trick in the final led Spain to last month’s Under-21 European Championship, calling him “a super, super player”.
Thiago is available this summer on the cheap due to a contract clause that is activated if he does not play much.