Barely a fortnight after the closure of the January transfer window, Louis van Gaal has stirred the pot by admitting that it is his priority to sign a creative midfielder this summer. Just months after splashing out £150 million pounds on new talent, including British record signing Angel di Maria, he is already preparing to dip his hands on the coffers once again.
Lack Of Options
Speaking to reporters ahead of United's FA Cup fifth round tie against Preston North End the Dutchman said: "Signing a creative player should be our priority this summer.
"I'm looking for balance and I need it in midfield."
Adding that England captain Wayne Rooney is being deployed mainly in a midfield role this term as "there is no one else".
Whilst the news will be disappointing to hear for the likes of Ander Herrera and Juan Mata. United fans will be greatly encouraged by the prospect of another big-name arrival, but who are the potential candidates that Van Gaal may look to within the coming months.
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Koke | Atletico Madrid
Born in Madrid, Koke joined Atletico at the age of eight before making his senior debut in 2009. He has since gone on to make 133 appearances for the Madrid based club, becoming an integral member of an Atletico side that won La Liga for the first time in 18 years last season.
He has also emerged as a regular starter for the Spanish national team in recent months, with his exploits for both club and country garnering interest from a number of European heavyweights.
However, despite last season's success on the field the latest LFP figures show that the Spanish giants still remain within £84 million worth of debt and as a result would find it very difficult to reject a significant offer for their home-grown star.
Whilst Atleti would also be unable to match the salary that United can offer, Van Gaal may look to the young Spaniard to provide the spark that his side has lacked on so many occasions this season.
Paul Pogba | Juventus
Seen by many United fans as the prodigal son that got away, Paul Pogba was allowed to leave by Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2012 to join Juventus. Few could of predicted the meteoric rise the young Frenchman would have.
Since his departure from Old Trafford the 21 year old has won two Serie A titles, two Italian Super Cups and captained his country to U20 World Cup glory in 2013. Becoming one of the most sought after players in world football.
The dynamic midfielder already has six league goals this term and his agent Mino Raiola said last month that his client holds no grudges against his former employers.
Raiola said: "There is no personal grudge. On the contrary, he holds Manchester United very dear and has very nice memories there."
Chelsea have proved this season with Nemanja Matic there is no shame paying big for the one that got away and signing Pogba would certainly be a huge statement of intent from the Red Devils in their attempts to get back to the top of European football.
Kevin Strootman | AS Roma
A player who was pivotal for Van Gaal during his time as the Netherlands national team coach, United were linked constantly with the ex PSV star throughout the summer. Despite the fact he was and would remain sidelined for the first half of this season due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury, sustained during the final months of the last campaign.
A Dutch international the midfielder showed his class by contributing two assists in his first three starts of this season, before a further setback against Fiorentina last month means Strootman is currently injured again.
Roma have said in the past they would only consider selling were they to receive a "stupid number" and with over three and a half years left to run on his current contract, it seems unlikely that Strootman will be moving to the Theatre of Dreams any time soon.
Ilkay Gundogan | Borussia Dortmund
Despite two wins out of their last three matches Borussia Dortmund have endured a torrid season to date. With the BVB making their worst start to a league campaign for the last 48 years. Leading to Jurgen Klopp's charges coming under immense scrutiny in recent months.
However, Ilkay Gundogan has found himself being spared from the majority of the criticism, with fans feeling the combative midfielder has lacked support in the centre of midfield throughout the current campaign.
Gundogan, like Strootman, missed the majority of last season as well as this summer's World Cup in which his home nation Germany were victorious in, through injury. Before his layoff the German was regarded as one of the most promising midfielders in European football having got one Bundesliga title and one German cup triumph to his name.
With Dortmund very unlikely to fill one of the three automatic Champions League spots available in the Bundesliga. Gundogan may be attracted by the prospect of regular European football, which United are currently on course to achieve.
However, having stopped the mass exodus of stars by signing down Marco Reus till 2019, Dortmund will be hopeful that more will follow suit as they bid to finish on a positive note for what has been a very sour season.
But who do you think Van Gaal should sign this summer? Use the comments box below to let us know your views!
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