On the brink of a summer that'll see a plethora of change at Old Trafford, it's imperative that Manchester United get their transfer business done early and done properly.
With Louis van Gaal set to be confirmed as manager late next week, per Ian Herbert of the Independent, transfer rumours are starting to emerge that tie in with the Dutchman's seemingly imminent appointment.
Which player would be the best signing for Manchester United?
Herbert reports in the aforementioned piece that the former Bayern boss will move quickly to identify his targets prior to the start of the World Cup in Brazil.
But what type of players does Van Gaal need to bolster this United team? Young? Experienced? Established?
After a season of stagnation under the tutelage of David Moyes, the harsh reality is that there are holes puncturing every section of this Manchester United squad, and there is plenty of work to be done in the summer months if they are to re-establish themselves in the upper reaches of the Premier League.
So with United's need for a complete revamp paramount, let's take a look at a defender, a midfielder and a forward who have been linked with a move to Manchester this summer and whether they’d fit the bill for Van Gaal's United blueprint.
The Southampton full-back's stock has been on the rise throughout the course of the current campaign, and his status as one of the Premier League's elite young players was cemented after being named in the PFA Team of the Year, per thepfa.com.
Shaw has long been linked with a move to Manchester United and Chelsea, per Metro, but Southampton icon Matt Le Tissier feels neither Shaw or his team-mate Adam Lallana should think about leaving the south coast quite yet, per Mike Walters of the Mirror:
The landscape has changed since I was a player, when you probably needed to play for one of the top four or five sides to be considered for England contention.
Now there is such a shortage of English players in the Premier League that it means you are bound to get noticed if you are playing well.
The pool of English talent has shrunk so much that I don’t think Lallana and Shaw would be doing their careers any harm by sticking around at Southampton.
From a United perspective, Shaw would be a wonderful acquisition. The 18-year-old is a player already showcasing all the attributes the modern game demands from its full-backs: He’s energetic, dynamic, thrilling going forward and studious in defence. And he’s only going to get better.
Chelsea have also been linked with a move for boyhood blue Shaw, but recent reports suggest they've turned their attention to Atletico Madrid man Filipe Luis, paving the way for Shaw to make a £27 million move to Manchester United, per Jason Burt of the Telegraph.
It's a sizeable fee for a player so young but one that would certainly be warranted if Shaw could nail down a place in the United XI for the next decade.
The new manager needs to build a core of young, enterprising players, and the capture of Shaw would be vital to establishing a nexus of the required talent.
According to Matt Lawton and Chris Wheeler of the Mail, Van Gaal has requested the funding to go after Bayern Munich midfielder Toni Kroos.
The piece suggests that van Gaal is in no mood to dawdle when it comes to the acquisition of new players:
Another pressing issue for Van Gaal, it seems, is an assurance that transfer funds will extend to the signing of the three German players he thinks United need.
As well as Bayern Munich’s Toni Kroos, Van Gaal wants Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus and Mats Hummels.
Of the aforementioned trio, it's Kroos who has been most regularly linked with a move to Old Trafford. And what a fine capture he'd be.
Equally capable of sitting in a deeper role, playing as an orthodox central midfield man or pushing forward in support of the striker, Kroos' versatility is often an attribute overlooked in his overall assessment.
But it's his ability to dictate the pace of a game, recycle possession and drive forward with the ball that make his potential signature a tantalising prospect for United fans.
At 24 years old, he has blossomed into one of European footballers elite midfielders this season, and like the aforementioned Shaw, he is a talent on whom United could build this team around for many years to come.
An exciting prospect for Red Devils supporters, but you have to question why Bayern Munich would be willing to let the player go, especially when he's a talent they have moulded and nurtured through their Sabener Strasse youth academy.
The editor-in-chief at Bundesliga Fanatic, Cristian Nyari, certainly doesn't see Kroos walking out on Bayern:
Probably not worth elaborating on the Hummels, Kroos and Reus to Man United rumors. Neither would or will happen.— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) May 1, 2014
Despite the ongoing issues in regards to a new contract, per the Telegraph, you suspect that a player like Kroos, who is undoubtedly Bayern through and through, will want to be at the club as they embark on this exciting new era in earnest under Pep Guardiola.
It certainly looks as though it will be difficult for United to prise Kroos away from the Allianz Arena this summer, but you suspect that won't stop them from trying.
Van Gaal is set to make Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller his primary transfer target, according to reports. Muller, who has been in and out of the team during Guardiola's first season in charge, is reportedly frustrated at his lack of game time.
John Edwards of the Mail elaborates in his piece:
Muller is unhappy with his role on the fringes of Bayern’s starting line-up under Pep Guardiola and has become increasingly frustrated at being left on the bench for key games, such as the Bundesliga showdown with their main rivals Dortmund and Champions’ League tie against United.
Bavarian-born, he saw himself spending his entire career at the Allianz Arena but has been forced to contemplate the unthinkable of seeking a fresh start.
According to sources close to him, Van Gaal’s imminent appointment as United boss has turned his sights towards Old Trafford.
It was during Van Gaal's spell as Bayern Munich boss that Muller began to blossom as a player. The Dutchman blooded him into the first team, and the German international certainly owes a big debt to Van Gaal for helping establish himself as a top player. And what a fine player he has become.
If United could conjure up a deal, it would certainly delight Red Devils legend Gary Neville, who is known to be a huge admirer of the player:
It would be "Muller" one of those players that makes a team great without ever being regularly recognised as a great player!— Gary Neville (@GNev2) October 3, 2013
Capable of operating anywhere across the midfield or the forward line, Muller has established himself as a supremely intelligent operator. His ability to find space, link the play and score vital goals are qualities rarely showcased so prominently in the modern game, and he'd be a marvellous signing for United should they pull it off.
After being at Bayern Munich his entire career, the chance to spearhead this United renaissance and link-up again with Van Gaal could be an enticing opportunity for Muller. He's won everything there is to win with the Bavarians, and at this juncture, a change of scenery could galvanise him as he enters the peak years of his career.
Like Kroos, Muller is Bayern to the core, but unlike the former, he's not starting week in, week out. Nonetheless, if there's even the slightest chance of doing a deal, United simply must go all out to secure this unique talent.