Louis van Gaal says Manchester United have drawn up a list of potential replacements for David de Gea in case he decides to leave for Real Madrid.
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward confirmed this week that the club will be "active" in the transfer market this summer, but perhaps the most important task is persuading De Gea to extend his contract, which runs out at the end of next season.
The Spaniard is expected to win United's player of the season award for the second year running and United opened contract negotiations earlier this season but they are taking "a long time", said Van Gaal.
Manchester United: Potential transfer targets summer 2015
Manchester United: Potential transfer targets summer 2015
1/10 Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton, 24)
With Rafael never getting close to favour under Louis van Gaal, right-back has been a problem area all season for United, with Antonio Valencia filling in at the position. Whilst Valencia has done well, Clyne is now England’s first choice and easily in the top three in his position in the Premier League. Southampton will not want to sell another one of their stars, but the player seemingly wants to move.
2/10 Radamel Falcao (Monaco, 29)
Who knows what will happen with the Colombian. Certainly he is not worth anywhere close to the mega move United were considering when they agreed to loan him last summer, having only scored four goals all season. But with his track record as one of the world’s best, United would be foolish not to consider a cut-price move, just in case he’s not broken once and for all.
3/10 Gareth Bale (Real Madrid, 25)
If a deal were to go through it would be an absolutely massive coup for the club, of course, and you know Manchester United will be exploring any possibility of a move. Despite his perceived unhappiness in Spain, Bale’s agent said he will be staying at the Bernabeu next season. Would cost a massive fee but would instantly turn the club into title contenders.
4/10 Edinson Cavani (PSG, 28)
Manchester United will surely be tempted if he is available despite having bigger needs elsewhere in their squad. Despite the perception that he has struggled to fit in at PSG, Cavani still has 50 goals in 91 matches for the club and has played the majority of his time there out of position on the wing. Tall and athletic he seems like a perfect fit for the Premier League, although he will cost a huge fee.
5/10 Hugo Lloris (Tottenham, 28)
The potential transfer of the Spurs and France No 1 is entirely wrapped in the future of David De Gea - if the Spaniard moves to Real Madrid then United will be scrambling for a new goalkeeper and there aren’t many better than Lloris. He’s four years older than De Gea but still young for a keeper.
6/10 Ilkay Gundogan (Borussia Dortmund, 24)
With Michael Carrick ageing and Wayne Rooney forced to play in the middle at various points this season, central midfield will be one of Van Gaal’s top priorities. The Borussia Dortmund man, 24, is a classy operator, strong on the tackle and a box-to-box threat. He is apparently being chased by Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, among others, so United will have to move quickly.
7/10 Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund, 26)
The World Cup winner should be United’s top target this summer, they have no bigger hole to fill than in the centre of their defence. Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans are all talented defenders, but none of them have the leadership skills necessary and are a level below the very best. Hummels’ arrival would immediately improve the whole backline.
8/10 Nicolas Otamendi (Valencia, 27)
Like Hummels, Otamendi is the dominant type of centre-back that United are missing. He’s a bit on the short side – 6ft – but is a forceful character and very competent on the ball. Louis van Gaal should be considering a move for both, although that will take out a significant chunk of his transfer budget.
9/10 Kevin Strootman (Roma, 25)
It seems as if Louis van Gaal has been linked with the Roma midfielder for the entirety of his reign, who suffered another knee injury back in January and has only played seven times in all competitions this season, his only games since the original injury last April. If he can get back to full fitness then the Dutchman is a dominant midfielder with an eye for goal. But it’s a big ‘if’.
10/10 Felipe Anderson (Lazio, 22)
The Brazilian attacking midfielder has been linked with a £30m move to Old Trafford despite stating he wanted to stay in Rome. The 22-year-old scored 10 goals and added seven assists for Lazio last season and is seen as a potential star of the future.
Madrid's interest is sure to increase as negotiations drag on and Van Gaal has been forced to contemplate his next move if the former Atletico Madrid man decides he wants to head back to the Spanish capital, where his pop star girlfriend Edurne Garcia lives.
"When we have a very good scouting commission, then we shall already know who shall be the next goalkeeper," the United manager said.
"We also have a list of goalkeepers who can replace him because we have to be organised always. Not only for that position but for every position."
That does not mean Van Gaal is resigned to losing a player who has saved him so many points this season.
"We want him to stay and I hope he shall sign," Van Gaal said.
"The most important party is always the player. He has to sign, he has to want to stay here at Manchester United."
Van Gaal spent more than £150million on seven players this season, but he will be seeking new signings this summer too.
The Dutchman has made a dynamic midfielder his priority as Michael Carrick is in the twilight of his career. Reinforcements at the back and up front are required too.
It was suggested that Van Gaal could spend upwards of £100million on Tottenham striker Harry Kane and Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, but the former Bayern Munich coach was in no mood to discuss the pair at his weekly press conference on Friday.
"You can mention a lot of names, I have seen that I buy everyone in the world but it's not like that," the United manager said.
Kane has scored 30 goals this season - one more than United's four strikers combined - so it is easy to see why the 21-year-old would be a target for the 20-time English champions.
It is understood that Spurs will resist any bids for the England international - and they have ruled out the possibility of selling goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who has been mentioned as a possible replacement for De Gea along with Stoke's Asmir Begovic.
Bale has had a difficult second year in Spain, but sources close to the Welshman insist he is staying put.
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