Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has moved to deny the sensational reports that Old Trafford officials have handed him a budget of anywhere between £100 - £350 million.
Widespread reports had claimed that executive vice chairman Ed Woodward had told Van Gaal to approach the transfer market with aggression once again in a bid to turbocharge their ascent back up the Premier League table.
After spending £150 million in the summer the Red Devils were prepared to go out with as much vigour in an attempt to secure the signatures on the world's best players. However, Van Gaal has called the stories 'disgusting', instead claiming that he and Woodward have never talked about numbers.
"It's disrespectful to my players and I don't like talking about it."
Disgusted with reports
He told reporters: "I think it is disgusting always writing about numbers.
"I don't think that Ed Woodward or I have said anything about it. It's disrespectful to my players and I don't like talking about it. I have to work with the selection I have."
Having had a nightmare first season without Sir Alex Ferguson under David Moyes, Manchester United officials have learned how important securing Champions League football is for the club.
Champions League target
Angel Di Maria's admission that he is missing Europe's top tier competition is evident that Manchester United must finish in the top four if they are to retain their best players. Where Moyes failed, Van Gaal must succeed and, despite Van Gaal's claims, it does appear he has virtually limitless supplies to achieve the minimum expected of him.
However, it remains true that dealing in the January transfer window is notoriously difficult. Targets such as Mats Hummels, Marco Reus and Kevin Strootman would cost huge amounts in the summer, but that price inflates massively if they were to leave halfway through the season.
Big transfers, big problems
Big transfers, as Van Gaal said, also have the potential to disrupt the squad. After a shaky start, Manchester United have put a run of four consecutive wins together.
While challenging for the Premier League title is what the fans want, getting back into the top four is more realistic. It appears they have the squad to achieve that feat. Therefore, the big deals are likely to wait until the summer.
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