Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal willing to spend £150m in window

Valdes has already arrived and Hummels bid has been made

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The Independent Football

Having signed Victor Valdes and prepared a £35m bid for Mats Hummels, Louis van Gaal said he is not afraid to embrace the January transfer window. 

The Manchester United manager argued that if he could bring new players to Old Trafford he would spend more money. His balance stands at £150m. It is a sum that the Southampton manager, Ronald Koeman, who fell out with Van Gaal when managed Ajax together, argued should be enough to win the Premier League rather than merely compete for it.

Sir Alex Ferguson distrusted January. Only once did he make significant purchases mid-season, bringing Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra to Old Trafford in 2006, when United had finished bottom of their Champions League group, were floundering behind Chelsea and his job was under threat. Ferguson argued there was little value in the market in January and that targets would be cup-tied for the Champions League. Since United have no European football this season, that is not an issue.

“I don’t prefer to wait. I have shown that with [the former Barcelona keeper] Victor Valdes,” said Van Gaal. “When we can buy a player who can improve my selection I, or the club, shall buy.”

Valdes is not just a number two, he is insurance in case David de Gea – against United’s wishes – ends up at Real Madrid.

It was thought any bid for Hummels would have to wait until the end of the season, although given the defender’s dissatisfaction with Dortmund’s imploding season, his arrival to shore up a defence that has kept six clean sheets in 20 matches could come sooner or later. At £35m he would be the Premier League’s most expensive defender.

“The amount is not interesting for me,” said Van Gaal. “It is the quality of the player in comparison to the others that I have. I have to compare and decide but the money will play no role.”

Perhaps not for Van Gaal but for Manchester United’s chief executive, Ed Woodward, the £43m fee to make Radamel Falcao’s loan from Monaco permanent will play a very great part in his planning. The decision is due in May.

It is almost a year since Falcao, facing Chasselay Monts d’Or in the French Cup, suffered the knee injury that wrecked his hopes of leading Colombia into the World Cup. The striker is only now beginning to properly recover.

Any chairman paying £43m for a footballer who will be 29 next month would expect him to play regularly. Van Gaal, however, offers no such assurances.

“I pick the best players, what I think makes the best team. I don’t rotate, I just pick the best team. There is a difference, do you understand that?” he said.

Van Gaal is searching for the “perfect game”. For the Dutchman there has only ever been one perfect game, in November 1995 when his Ajax side overwhelmed Real Madrid in the Bernabeu. The scoreline was 2-0 but the margin of victory was far greater.

“I want the perfect game and we have never played it. I was once asked about the perfect game and I said Real Madrid v Ajax but that is already 20 years ago,” he said.

“But I expect more attacking quality from Manchester United. If it is not this year, then next season or the one after that.”