United boss seeks new transfer war chest in talks with club owners
Manchester UNITED manager Louis van Gaal will hold a transfer summit with the club's American owners as another major spending spree is considered ahead of next season.
Joel and Avram Glazer attended United's 3-1 victory over Burnley on Wednesday night and, while there will be encouragement at the current league position, that performance underlined just how far off they are from being capable of mounting a title challenge.
Van Gaal was shocked by United's inept display in the first half against Burnley and the furious Dutchman tore into his players at the break, leaving them in no doubt about his feelings.
Future signings are sure to be discussed when Van Gaal meets the Glazers, but top of the agenda is likely to be confirming the long-term future of goalkeeper David de Gea, who has been continuously linked with Real Madrid and has been tipped as the source of the next major pay-day for agent Jorge Mendes should he strike a world-record deal for a goalkeeper.
United will want the Spaniard tied down for a prolonged period and will probably have to make De Gea one of the highest-paid keepers on the planet - as well as arranging a handsome commission with his representative to make it happen.
They also have the complicated issue of Radamel Falcao's future to consider before the end of the season, the Colombian's poor form certainly not justifying the kind of £40m fee under discussion to make his switch to Old Trafford permanent.
It is inconceivable United would pay anywhere near such a figure for a striker who has looked a shadow of the player who was so coveted prior to his injury problems.
Given that Mendes also represents Falcao, Van Gaal and United chief executive Ed Woodward will have to display their diplomatic skills to ensure the right outcome in both the De Gea and Falcao negotiations.
United also have an extensive list of summer targets, including Roma's Kevin Strootman and Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels, who have been the subject of interest since Van Gaal took charge.
United are also interested in Athletic Bilbao youngster Aymeric Laporte, a 20-year-old French defender.
After Danny Ings' impressive performance at Old Trafford, there may also be a temptation to join the race for his signature at the end of the season.
United would need to challenge Liverpool for Ings' signature, given that the Merseyside club remains confident they will advance talks for the Burnley striker, who is out of contract at Turf Moor at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Woodward has insisted the money from the record £5.1bn Premier League television rights deal will not go directly into the pockets of players and their agents.
"While there may well be some impact on wages, the general mood is that clubs are determined not to be continually loss-making," he said in his quarterly conference call to investors.
Alan Sugar, formerly the Tottenham Hotspur chairman, likened the TV money to "prune juice", meaning it would "go in one end and out the other" quickly from clubs to players.
The increased amounts will mean that from 2016 even the bottom-placed Premier League club is likely to receive £99m a season in television rights alone. The sums have immediately prompted a call to cut ticket prices.
Woodward said that United were yet to make a decision on the cost for fans but insisted that tickets at Old Trafford were fairly priced.
In the 2012-13 season, the Premier League's 20 clubs sustained a combined loss of £291m, and paid £1.8bn in wages.
However, not meeting high wage demands comes with an increased risk of relegation and the financial consequences that entails.
United made a £14.9m loss in the second quarter of the financial year owing to deferred payments on summer transfers, including Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Marcos Rojo.
Overall, the club was 14pc down on this quarter last year, chiefly as a consequence of the lack of European competition, with the lack of ticket sales and television rights that brings. (© Daily Telegraph, London)