Louis van Gaal wants to completely refresh and reshape Manchester United's defence after a shocking campaign last season.
The new Dutch manager wants to sign as many as three new defenders to add to the signing of 18-year-old Luke Shaw to solidify United's bare and vulnerable back line. Manchester United had a bad season defensively last time round and the fact that Vidic and Ferdinand have left the club on free transfers this summer leaves them vulnerable.
Louis van Gaal is reluctant to leave it up to the young and arguably inexperienced Phil Jones, Johnny Evans and Chris Smalling to protect David De Gea next season.
Although Louis van Gaal is said to be delighted with the capture of bright young talent Luke Shaw, he is also said to be unsatisfied with the current state of Manchester United's defence. Therefore van Gaal and United officials including Ed Woodward and David Gill have identified three primary targets they are likely to pursue in the coming weeks.
Stefan De Vrij is the first target and is well known to coach Louis van Gaal as they have previously worked together during the World Cup and before that too. De Vrij is only young yet he has a cool head on his shoulders and is fantastic at breaking up promising and dangerous attacks from the opposition.
He also has a fantastic touch and always remains calm even when he is under huge levels of pressure. De Vrij is already a fantastic player and is already beginning to show his character having already captained the Dutch national team and scored during the World Cup. Ultimately this bumps up his price and Feyenoord will want a top price for one of their most prized possessions, I'd expect De Vrij to set United back by about £20m.
The second target is Belgian international and Arsenal club captain, Thomas Vermaelen. Despite claiming he has not agreed a deal with Manchester United earlier in the summer, the Belgian international has at least been in contact with Manchester United on two occasions, once when David Moyes was in charge at Old Trafford and the other whilst Ryan Giggs was interim manager. It is yet to be seen if Vermaelen is a primary target for Van Gaal as the Belgian's persistent injuries make him a bit of a risky target and Van Gaal is also a known fan of Porto's Managala and Real Madrid's Varane.
However Vermaelen is entering the final year of his contract and is readily available and would only cost United around £10m.
Last but not least
The final target is also the most wanted and not just by Manchester United but also by Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG, Chelsea and Bayern Munich. It is of course German international Mats Hummels.
Hummels has enjoyed huge success since joining Borussia Dortmund from Bayern Munich and is now classed as one of the world's most prestigious centre backs alongside Thiago Silva and Sergio Ramos.
He recently scored a fantastic headed goal against France during the World Cup and is an aerial attacking threat as much as he is defensively sound. Having seen Hummels play in person at the Signal Iduna Park I can safely say be would be a very wise investment for United. However his qualities come at a price and could cost United upwards of £32 million, making him the most expensive of all three targets.
Ultimately I'd be surprised if Manchester United didn't sign at least one of these great defenders this summer and I can see each one of them being a success if Manchester United are lucky enough to pull off a big summer move.
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