Manchester United have been tasked by new manager Louis van Gaal with making significant progress on the signing of four new players by the time the World Cup ends, reports suggest.
According to The Daily Mirror, Van Gaal - who will officially take up the role as David Moyes' permanent successor following his native Netherlands' exit from this summer's eagerly-anticipated tournament in Brazil - appears to have increased the pressure on Red Devils chief executive Ed Woodward to bring in the new players he wants in plenty of time for the 2014/15 Premier League campaign.
The same source suggests that the potential deals the 62-year-old wants to see progress quickly are for Ukraine international winger Yevhen Konoplyanka, star Bundesliga duo Mats Hummels and Bastian Schweinsteiger and possibly even injured compatriot Kevin Strootman.
Such a typically resolute and uncompromising stance from former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Van Gaal appears likely to heap further expectation upon Woodward, the man who - along with the disappointing Moyes - was held largely accountable by frustrated supporters for Manchester United's series of embarrassing and costly failures during last summer's transfer window.
Whether Manchester United do indeed stand a realistic chance of landing these players before the World Cup reaches its climax remains to be seen - particularly given that the likes of Hummels and Schweinsteiger will be actively involved in the tournament as part of the widely-fancied Germany squad.
By targeting such high-profile players, it is becoming quite clear that Van Gaal believes Manchester United are still capable of signing some of Europe's biggest stars, despite the fact that the club will be absent from the Champions League next season for the first time in almost 20 years.
This sort of ambition and positive thinking is likely to endear Van Gaal further to Manchester United supporters, the bulk of whom became extremely disillusioned with the club's more modest approach under Moyes.
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