Even before Louis Van Gaal officially arrived as the new Manchester United manager, the club were busy in the transfer market as they moved to sign Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera. At the time, the Dutchman was guiding the Netherlands to a third place finish at the World Cup but now he is firmly installed at Old Trafford, he has promised more new arrivals to boost the squad.
But just who is Van Gaal targeting? Here are five players who could improve the playing situation at Manchester United.
- Mats Hummels
With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic having left the club, the need for a new centre half is obvious. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are both promising players but they require some experience alongside them for the tough campaign that lies ahead.
German international Hummels is a long term target for United and is seen as the perfect solution for the issues in the centre of defence. Two goals at the World Cup suggest that he can also offer a threat in front of goal from set pieces but if Van Gaal is to land his man, he will need to fight off serious interest from Barcelona.
2. Thomas Vermaelen
United are quoted at 5.90 with Betfair to win the Premier League at the end of 2014-15 but that issue in the centre of defence has to be resolved. If the club do lose out on Hummels, Arsenal captain Vermaelen has the experience required to provide back-up although most papers claim that Van Gaal is happy to sign both men.
Vermaelen has experienced injury issues for two seasons now and those problems followed the Belgian international to the World Cup but if he can stay fit, the defender could prove to be United’s shrewdest capture.
3. Angel Di Maria
United fans who would have watched Di Maria at the World Cup might be concerned at the club spending in excess of £45m but although it was a difficult tournament for the Real Madrid winger, he is a quality player who is worth an investment.
It was typical of the man that he had a seriously poor performance against Switzerland in the round of 16 before coming up with the winning goal two minutes from extra time. Di Maria works hard for 90 minutes and that work ethic would be embraced by Van Gaal and the Old Trafford faithful.
4. Marco Reus
Reports that German international Reus had rejected a new contract at Borussia Dortmund would have heartened a number of clubs around Europe and United should be striving to beat the likes of Liverpool and Bayern Munich to the 25 year olds’ signature.
Reus is one of a clutch of talented attacking midfielders in the Germany squad but his scoring record from the centre line is a prolific one. In 62 league games for Dortmund he has found the net on 30 occasions – a ratio that any centre forward would be proud of and one that suggests he can provide valuable scoring support for Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie.
5. Daley Blind
After United beat Inter Milan 5-4 on penalties in their latest pre-season fixture, Van Gaal stated that the club were still seeking defenders and it’s widely reported that Ajax’s Blind remains on the radar.
With Luke Shaw already at the club, the Red Devils would seemingly have no need for another left back but there are concerns over the England defender’s fitness ahead of the new campaign. Blind can also push forward and play on the left side of midfield making him the type of versatile player that the manager needs in his squad.