Monday 26 September 2016

Manchester United's shopping list: 10 players Louis van Gaal wants to sign

David Lyons

Published 22/04/2015 | 09:22

Manchester United are likely to spend big again this summer in an attempt to regain their position at the top table in English football. There is also a likely attack on Europe too, with Van Gaal’s men all-but confirmed to compete in the Champions League.

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There has been a lot of speculation linking United with many players over the past year, but we are aware of the 10 players on Van Gaal’s short list for transfers. He’s had each of these players watched, has even admitted to admiring a few of them in public and we’ve had quotes from selling parties too, confirming United’s interest.

These are the options on Van Gaal’s shopping list for this summer.

Right-back

Nathaniel Clyne

Louis van Gaal is chasing an attack-minded right full having grown impatient with Rafael’s lack of discipline. The new signing will challenge Antonio Valencia for the starting spot.

United have had scouts at Southampton games watching Clyne this season and it’s been reported from those closest to the player that he favours a move to Old Trafford over Chelsea and Arsenal who have also been keeping tabs on him. A source at Southampton revealed just this week that: "The player has made it known that United are his first choice, the deal is not done yet but it is a clear indication of his thinking."

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Daniel Alves

The Barcelona defender is also on Van Gaal’s list, but is likely to be second choice behind Clyne. Should Chelsea or Arsenal pip the Red Devils to the Southampton full-back then United may make a move for Alves.

The Brazilian was looking to move from Barcelona for the experience more than anything else and United had been heavily linked. Reports said back in March that Barca and United were close to an agreement. But despite the fact that United have had Alves monitored all year, the story has gone cold over the past six weeks. It’s probably more a reflection on United’s confidence of landing Clyne.

Centre-back

Mats Hummels

It’s no secret that Louis van Gaal tried to sign the Borussia Dortmund defender last summer, but a reluctance on Jurgen Klopp’s part to sell as well as a desire from Hummels to stick with the German club meant United had little chance of signing him.

A year later though they are highly expected to snap him up. Klopp is gone and Hummels has already hinted he’s on his way. Just two weeks ago the World Cup winner said about his future: “I’m reflecting on it. It’s just thoughts going through my mind. All will become clear in the coming weeks.” Klopp then revealed that United is his most likely destination. The manager said: “He’s good enough for Manchester United. He’s told me he’s thinking things over.”

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Centre-midfield

Paul Pogba

Pogba is on the shopping list of every major club in Europe. Arguably the best young player in the world, he is also very likely to move from cash-strapped Juventus this summer.

But United will have their challengers. Barcelona, Real Madrid and PSG as well as Chelsea and Manchester City have all shown an interest in the Frenchman. At this point it’s hard to gauge exactly where he will end up.

Due to FFP, United have a slight advantage in England, but Real and Barca could be more attractive destinations for Pogba. Though he did hint at a reconciliation with United back in February, saying: “I still love the club.”

This was at a time United had been enquiring about his services. However, then United were seeking a goalscoring midfielder, but the improvements of Anders Herrera, Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini in front of goal of late mean the capture of Pogba is nowhere near a priority for Van

Kevin Strootman

Van Gaal confirmed United’s interest in Strootman last summer by saying: “We have to wait and see. He is injured. We have to see how he comes back.”

The Dutch holding midfielder did come back and did look back to his best for Roma before injuring that same knee again. United had the player watched through all of his comeback games in Serie A and were likely to make their move this summer.

However, they won’t get to assess him again this season as it has been confirmed he will not be able to kick a ball until July. Whether or not United’s interest will remain with a player who has such a bad recent history of injuries remains to be seen. It is also unclear if he will be fit enough to pass a medical before the August 31 transfer deadline. This move looked certain before the injury blow back in January. It now looks unlikely.

Wingers

Gareth Bale

United have tried to sign Gareth Bale in each of the last two summers. But despite David Moyes offering more wages to the Welshman than he was getting at Real Madrid, Bale chose to go to the Spanish giants.

Van Gaal tried to lure him back to the Premier League again last summer, but had no chance. The door is slightly ajar now though, but Bale does NOT want to leave Madrid. He said: “I am very happy at Madrid and I hope to win many more titles in the future here.”

United’s only realistic chance of landing Bale is to convince Real to force Bale out. A huge money bid might suffice, but is unlikely. However, Real’s reported interest in David de Gea could be the key to United finally landing their man. Though reports in Spain of a possible swap deal have not yet been confirmed. And United already look to have admitted to themselves that they won’t land the Welsh wizard by turning their attentions to Memphis Depay.

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Memphis Depay

United scouts have taken in the majority of PSV games this season to watch the flying Dutchman. Of course, Van Gaal has watched the player at very close quarters and knows all about him having managed him at last year’s World Cup finals.

But Depay has kicked on a gear since then, having a stunning goalscoring and assist-making season in Holland. United’s interest throughout the year was no secret, but PSV recently confirmed that the English club have made a move for the winger.

Club director Marcel Brands revealed: “It’s true Manchester United, PSG and one other big European club have made contact.” Van Gaal’s close relationship with Depay is likely to pay dividends though. This is the most likely move of them all.

Strikers

Edison Cavani

United have had Cavani monitored this season, but a move for the current PSG striker is far from certain. Van Gaal does want to sign a number 9 this summer, and will let Radamel Falcao go.

But the United manager did have plans to drop Wayne Rooney to the No.10 role and sign a big-name No.9 to play ahead of him. Rooney’s impressive displays at the very top of the action may well have changed those plans. Instead of splashing big on a definite first-teamer such as Cavani, United may be tempted to keep Rooney as the lone striker, with a new signing likely to play second fiddle to the England captain.

A Cavani move can’t be ruled out, but looks a lot more unlikely now then it did in February when United scout Marcel Bout was spotted at a PSG game taking notes. It’s probably also why United have been heavily linked with the below two.

Danny Ings

There is nothing concrete to suggest whether or not United’s interest in Danny Ings is actually real. All we know on this score is that Louis van Gaal has admitted that he is a big fan of the player.

This coupled with the fact that Ings is a free agent and most clubs would have been made aware of his situation has seen the 22-year-old linked with a dream move to Old Trafford. Reports in Burnley a month ago that United had made contact with the club saw Ings’ odds on joining Man United drop dramatically. This came after a source at Old Trafford confirmed: “Louis was very impressed with Danny Ings here after we played them, but his scout leading up to that game was full of praise for Ings and suggested Louis consider signing him.” However that story has since blown over and United’s odds of signing Ings have drifted again. Liverpool remains Ings’ most likely destination.

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Saido Berahino

A possible move for Berahino came right out of the blue. Berahino fits the mould of a striker Van Gaal would be interested in, he plays in between the centre-halves and makes great movement off the ball.

But such a move wasn’t even discussed in the gossip pages of newspapers before Berahino was spotted at Old Trafford taking in the Arsenal FA Cup defeat back in March.

What was most interesting about that was Berahino was sitting in the United VIP section, where invited guests sit. However, apart from that there has been no concrete evidence that United will make a move for the current West Brom striker.

Berahino is likely to be sold for quite decent money this summer and if Van Gaal feels that he needs a second option to Rooney instead of a certain starter, then he could be in contact with Tony Pulis soon. Don’t rule this one out.

Our verdict

While moves for Hummels and Depay now look certain, doubt still lingers over Van Gaal’s feelings on signing a central midfielder and centre-forward. A huge uplift in performances from players in those positions over the last two months means Van Gaal may well change his mind. Expect United to do their best to add Clyne to Hummels and Depay, though that signing is still a long way short of the other two.

Online Editors

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