United ready to smash £200m mark in January splurge
Record war-chest for Van Gaal as Red Devils reclaim their position as world's richest club
Manchester United are ready to break through the £200m spending mark in a single year - comfortably surpassing Manchester City's heaviest season of Abu Dhabi cash outlay - by going back into the January transfer market, if Louis Van Gaal says this summer's reinforcements are still not enough to return them to the top of English football.
City spent around £148m in 2009-10, a year that saw Carlos Tevez sign from United, and, having already invested £150m this summer, United will back manager Van Gaal if he tells them that the accelerated restructuring is still not completed.
The club accept that there is no hope of going back for Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels four months from now, if the central defence, which is United's weak point, lets Van Gaal down. Dortmund's refusal to sell him, or later trade him for Shinji Kagawa, is set in stone.
But they could buy an alternative if Argentinian Marcos Rojo - who has some developing still to do, in Van Gaal's opinion - does not make that unit stronger.
Van Gaal is also expecting Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman to recover from a serious knee injury, allowing United to make a £25m move for the Dutchman this winter.
The prospect of a move for Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, valued by the Italians at £30m, or £8m-rated enforcer Nigel de Jong, are alternatives, if United reach Christmas adrift and in need of a counter-balance for the attacking talents they have just bought. That outlay could add up to another £50m.
With the club's huge commercial income likely to see them reclaim their position as the richest side in world football once again, their spending can continue.
Financial analyst Andy Green stated this week that United, with their profit of around £130m before interest each year and interest payments now down to £20m, could afford to spend around £100m each year in the transfer market.
A further £50m spend this winter would mean a more limited outlay next summer, unless more players leave.
The club need £43.4m to make Radamel Falcao's £6m loan deal from Monaco permanent. It is thought that Van Gaal rates Juan Mata highly, despite the arrival of Falcao and Angel Di Maria raising questions about where the Spaniard fits into the picture.
The view from within the club is that claims by outsiders, including Alex Ferguson's former lieutenant Mike Phelan, that United have abandoned a youth policy, are deeply misguided and fundamentally flawed.
United feel that the promotion of 18-year-old striker James Wilson to the first-team squad, named on Tuesday, was overlooked amid the fanfare surrounding the purchase of Falcao.
The feeling is that Phelan's argument - that a thread has been "broken" and United's identity lost - is blown away by the composition of the Premier League squad. In all, 21 out of 35 of its members are under 25 and 14 are English.
The club also believe that they have been vindicated in their claims there has always been money to spend, and that the relatively modest outlay in the Ferguson years simply reflected the business that he was willing to undertake. United are aware that the development of Wilson into a first-team player this season will see off the arguments of those frustrated by Falcao's arrival.
The theory from the top is that the departures of strikers Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez creates an opportunity for Wilson to achieve what Welbeck did not.
Van Gaal's use of defender Tyler Blackett has also particularly encouraged the club that his philosophy of developing young players is intact.
Rojo is expected to further improve the defence, though Van Gaal has told the club that he can make him a better defender than the one who impressed for Argentina in the World Cup.
He could be one of three United debutants against Queens Park Rangers next week after finally securing a working visa following last month's £16m transfer from Sporting Lisbon.
Due to an unresolved police investigation in Argentina surrounding an alleged altercation with a neighbour in 2010, the 24-year-old's clearance to play had been delayed until the UK authorities had assessed all relevant information.
But with the UK Border Agency confirming yesterday that Rojo had been granted the required paperwork to play for the club, the defender is now in line to make his debut alongside fellow new signings Falcao and Daley Blind at Old Trafford a week on Sunday.
After playing for Argentina against Germany in Dusseldorf on Wednesday, Rojo said he was now determined to grasp the opportunity of playing for United - he has been handed the No5 shirt vacated by Rio Ferdinand.
"I am desperate to get onto the field and play," Rojo said. "My life has changed a lot. I am very happy to be at Manchester United, a top team in the world, sharing a dressing-room with players like Rooney, Van Persie, Di María and now Falcao."
Having monitored Falcao's situation from a distance for weeks, the club have indicated that their move for him came on Sunday, when it became clear that both Hernandez and Welbeck were leaving The club are mystified where suggestions in some quarters that they paid an £11m loan fee came from.
The deal is described as straightforward and United's appears to have been the only offer on the table as deadline day approached. The wages, which are believed to be around £264,000 a week, take the cost of the deal to £20m for one season's loan.
United are awaiting Van Gaal's instructions on whether they should award new contracts to David de Gea, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Robin van Persie, who will all have one year left on their contracts next summer. Darren Fletcher is out of contract next summer. (© Independent News Service)