With Louis van Gaal reportedly set to be named as the new manager of Manchester United, as shared by The Daily Mail's Ian Ladyman, fans and media alike are starting to speculate about the direction the Dutchman will be taking the club over the next few months. This includes the potential arrivals of several star players.
According to the Mail, Van Gaal will be given "massive funds" to help set the team back on the path to greatness, with qualification for the 2015-16 Champions League the primary objective.
One can only assume a manager like Van Gaal wouldn't accept the position at the Red Devils without the promise of a substantial transfer budget, so the list of players linked with United should contain a number of star names.
Let's have a look at some of the biggest draws in world football being linked to the club.
Marco Reus and Luke Shaw
Per The Daily Star's John Cross, both Reus and Shaw were transfer targets of the club while former manager David Moyes was still in charge, and Van Gaal has reportedly informed the club both signings would have his blessing.
Edinson Cavani was another reported target for Moyes, but the Uruguayan striker would not fit the Dutchman's ideal starting XI, per Cross.
Borussia Dortmund's Reus is one of the hottest names in all of football, and last month former teammate Mario Gotze was quoted by The Express' Richard Tanner as telling sources in Germany that the midfielder was keen on joining the Red Devils:
"When I was at Borussia, Marco wanted a move to Manchester United, he hasn't changed."
Southampton's Shaw meanwhile has enjoyed a fantastic 2013-14. The left-back was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year Award and is widely tipped to be selected by England for next month's World Cup.
"It’s a good thing to be linked with them, but I don’t concentrate on that, I’ve got football to focus on."
Both players have enjoyed spectacular seasons and are still years removed from reaching their peak ability and, as a result, would most likely demand an enormous transfer fee.
But the wing-back and creative midfield positions could both do with an upgrade for the Red Devils, and if the transfer budget available to Van Gaal is as sizeable as we have been led to believe, both players would be excellent signings.
While it would appear unlikely that both players to join the club in the same transfer window, Shaw at least could be tempted by the promise of glory in the iconic red kit. Reus on the other hand will most likely prefer another season in the Bundesliga, with his club offering Champions League football next season, something United can not.
The Dutch winger already plays under Van Gaal with the Dutch national side, and as reported by ESPN's Staff, via The Sun (subscription required), he is another player that could be very high on the potential new United manager's list.
Robben signed a new deal with Bayern Munich earlier this season and has given no indication of being unhappy with the Bavarian giants, but the winger never looked particularly threatening during his team's Champions league exit at the hands of Real Madrid earlier this month.
Bayern manager Pep Guardiola has always preferred pass-first players out on the wing, something the speedy Dutchman is not. As a result, a solid offer from the Red Devils could persuade the Rekordmeister to part ways with Robben.
Van Gaal was the manager who signed Robben when he took over at Bayern in 2009, and such trust and admiration could help the player make up his mind in favour of a new adventure in the Premier League.
Guardiola seems intent on building his Bayern team around his central midfielders in the same way he built Barcelona, while Robben would most likely be the centrepiece of Van Gaal's united squad.
A reunion between Van Gaal and Robben would make a lot of sense, and talkFOOTBALL seems to think signing Robben would be a major coup for United:
#vanGaal & Robben to United. What a signing that would be for United.— talkFOOTBALL (@talkFOOTYBALL) May 4, 2014
Thesportsbreakfast's Marco Conradie wants everyone to temper their expectations, though:
Arjen Robben to Manchester United might look realistic with the whole Luis Van Gaal angle, but there are too many variables. #BuLi.— Marco Conradie (@MarcoConradie10) May 4, 2014
While this move is definitely a possibility, it perhaps doesn't count as a probability. Robben is a phenomenal player and has been very influential during his time with Bayern. However, his first Premier League spell with Chelsea didn't always go according to plan.
A substantial enough offer could sway the Bavarians' assessment of his importance to the team, and it would appear that Robben wouldn't mind being reunited with Van Gaal in Manchester.