Who could be Manchester United's marquee man? - Five likely targets
Published 27/07/2015 | 19:06
Louis van Gaal's admission that Manchester United need a player with "speed and creativity" opens the debate as to who the Dutchman may pursue.
United have done plenty of business already this summer but Van Gaal's stated admiration of game-changing players in the mould of Gareth Bale and Arjen Robben, and even Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, shows he has not yet settled on his current squad.
Here, we look at some possible contenders to be United's 'marquee' man.
Cristiano Ronaldo - Real Madrid
The most obvious target but most probably the hardest to secure. Ronaldo made his name as a Manchester United player in a terrific six-year spell as David Beckham's heir apparent in the number seven shirt. Talk of a return from Madrid - where he has established himself as one of the world's two best players - has never really gone away and United's best chance may come in the form of his advancing years. Ronaldo is now 30 and Madrid may reach a point when they think their man is worth as much as he is ever going to be.
Thomas Muller - Bayern Munich
Described as priceless by his chairman at the weekend, Muller is no stranger to Van Gaal's methods having played under him for Bayern. A rangy forward with an uncanny ability to always pop up in the right place, he has been a star of two successive World Cups at the age of 25. He many not possess the direct threat of a Ronaldo but would undoubtedly vastly improve United's attacking options.
Gareth Bale - Real Madrid
Another Real man who continues to be linked with Old Trafford, Wales international Bale endured a difficult second season in the Spanish capital after scoring in a victorious Champions League final in the first. Boos from the Madrid fans gave the impression all was not well, and his pace and direct style would certainly fit in with what United and their fans crave. There has been no suggestion of Real wanting to sell, though, and Bale has been a firm fixture throughout their pre-season commitments.
Harry Kane - Tottenham
Kane is certainly not a free-spirited player but his ability to make something out of nothing in the penalty area would appeal to many United fans. He scored 32 goals for club and country in a break-out season last term and, although Tottenham have shown no willingness to sell, the Old Trafford club would currently offer Kane a higher level of football to play at.
Pedro - Barcelona
Perhaps the easiest of the deals to be done, Barcelona forward Pedro has been linked with United all summer and a deal seems possible. Pedro has found opportunities in Barca's frontline harder to come by since the arrival of Luis Suarez and his pace and eye for a goal would vastly increase United's options.