Thursday 29 September 2016

'We're not done yet' - Van Gaal bullish on transfer front as Lewandowski and Cavani linked to Old Trafford

Mark Ogden

Published 14/07/2015 | 02:30

Manchester United's assistant manager Ryan Giggs and new signing Bastian Schweinsteiger at Manchester Airport before flying out on their pre-season tour
Manchester United's assistant manager Ryan Giggs and new signing Bastian Schweinsteiger at Manchester Airport before flying out on their pre-season tour

Louis van Gaal is ready to take his spending as Manchester United manager beyond £300m this summer after completing the signings of "the ultimate professional" Bastian Schweinsteiger and the Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.

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Van Gaal, who spent £154m on new players following his arrival as manager last summer, has now spent £76.7m since the end of last season with Bayern Munich midfielder Schweinsteiger (£15m) and Schneiderlin (£24m) joining Italian defender Matteo Darmian (£12.7m) and Dutch winger Memphis Depay (£25m) at Old Trafford.

Further moves are anticipated for a centre-half and striker, with Van Gaal placing Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski at the top of his wanted list, despite an acceptance that the Germans would be unlikely to sell a second leading playing to United this summer.

Paris St-Germain forward Edinson Cavani remains an alternative option and could be traded in exchange for Angel Di Maria, while Sergio Ramos is the No 1 option at centre-half, ahead of Valencia's Nicolas Otamendi.

With United due to arrive in Seattle this morning on the first leg of their pre-season tour of the United States, uncertainty still surrounds the futures of goalkeeper David de Gea, who has travelled to the States, and Di Maria, the £59.7m British record signing.

Di Maria will not participate in the four-game trip to the US owing to his exertions with Argentina at the Copa America, but it is understood that the 27-year-old and his wife have become unhappy in Manchester and are keen to return to Spain, just a year after his arrival from Real Madrid.

PSG have confirmed their interest in Di Maria, who was a long-term target of the French champions last summer, but the player has identified a return to Real as his favoured option.

With Real so far showing little interest in taking him back, however, the player is likely to be left with a choice of staying at United or accepting the challenge offered by PSG.

De Gea's Old Trafford future is shrouded in similar doubt, despite his inclusion on Van Gaal's tour squad. Real's decision to hand Ramos he club captaincy has dented United's hopes of signing the defender, but the Spanish club remain determined to sign De Gea.

Completing the signings of Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin has strengthened Van Gaal's chances of mounting a serious challenge for the Premier League title this season.

The arrival of Schweinsteiger, who turns 31 next month, is an unusual capture for United, who prefer their signings to be younger with a resale value, but after handing the World Cup winner a three-year contract, Van Gaal said: "Bastian is the ultimate professional and there is no doubting his talent and his ability to control games."

Schweinsteiger, who has ended a 17 year association with Bayern, said: "Manchester United is the only club that I would have left Munich for."

United overcame competition from Arsenal and Tottenham to sign Schneiderlin, who will solve a long standing problem in defensive midfield after signing a four-year contract with the option of a further year.

"Once I learnt United were interested in signing me, it was a very easy decision to make," said the Frenchman.

United are expected to sell Rafael da Silva to Galatasaray after Van Gaal omitted the 25-year-old defender from the touring squad.

Víctor Valdés has also missed the trip to the States, raising doubt over his future, regardless of whether De Gea is sold. Valencia and Antalyaspor are both interested in the former Barcelona keeper, who has made just one start for United since he signed an 18 month contract in January.

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