Louis van Gaal has almost finalised a five-man shortlist ahead of what promises to be another summer of heavy investment from Manchester United, reports The Express.
The Express has become infamous for useless transfer news lately, but their northern football correspondent Richard Tanner – the author of the story linked to above – remains on the beat with Manchester's biggest clubs.
He believes Manchester United are preparing to blow £150 million in this summer's transfer window with five big signings expected. Van Gaal has top targets in four positions already finalised, but is still on the lookout for a new striker.
Nathaniel Clyne is reported to be the first choice for a new right-back. The Southampton defender has been linked with a move to Old Trafford since January and it is believed he remains a priority for Van Gaal. Rafael has failed to convince the Dutchman and has not started a game since October. His future at Manchester United is in serious doubt.
Mats Hummels, as expected, is Van Gaal's top choice for a new centre-back. Van Gaal rates Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair and is reluctant to push them out of the first-team picture. However, the manager has always considered a world-class defender like Hummels as a necessary addition.
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Borussia Dortmund have already secured the future of Marco Reus, but Hummels appears to be on his way out with Jurgen Klopp's men set to fall out of Champions League qualification. Marquinhos of PSG is a viable alternative.
Kevin Strootman is named as Van Gaal's top target for the physical presence required in midfield, but there is some doubt over the AS Roma star's long-term fitness. He has been struggling to regain full fitness after suffering serious cruciate ligament damage last year.
Van Gaal will wait to see how he responds to his latest operation, designed as a "clean up", before making a final decision on a bid.
A hot prospect
One lesser known name likely to arrive is PSV Eindhoven starlet Memphis Depay. The Dutch international broke through at last year's World Cup and has continued his development without interruption in the Eredivisie.
He has 18 goals in 23 appearances this season and PSV coach Phillip Cocu has already admitted he will struggle to keep hold of the 21-year-old beyond this summer.
There is still uncertainty with the striker position. Radamel Falcao has failed to impress on his loan spell while Robin van Persie is now the wrong side of 30. James Wilson is highly rated but a new striker is likely to come in.
Manchester United are currently scouting Palermo’s Paulo Dybala and Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi but Van Gaal has yet to make a final decision on who his top target will be. Both have lit up Serie A this year, but have limited experience outside of Italy.
A dangerous game to play
This is an exciting time for Manchester United fans, who are seeing their club reaping the benefits of financial fair play restrictions. Their commercial strength leaves them head and shoulders above their rivals and they will enter the transfer window almost unchallenged.
However, money does not buy you success as Van Gaal has found out this season. Manchester United have struggled to challenge for the Premier League despite heavy spending. Another summer of arrivals could easily disrupt the squad as well as improve it.
Should Louis van Gaal hold back on spending another £150 million or do fans want to see more big signings? Give us your views in the comments box below!
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