Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal has given Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward a prioritised shortlist of superstar talents he intends to target when taking his place at the club's helm this summer.
The Dutch veteran has outlined the players he wants to bring to Old Trafford in the coming months, focusing mainly on the talents of the Bundesliga, per the Guardian's Jamie Jackson:
|Arjen Robben||Bayern Munich||30||Winger|
|Thomas Muller||Bayern Munich||24||Attacking Midfield/Striker|
|Toni Kroos||Bayern Munich||24||Centre Midfield|
|Mats Hummels||Borussia Dortmund||25||Centre-Back|
Van Gaal's most recent club management post came at Bayern Munich, between 2009 and 2011, where he developed an intimate familiarity with those players who have since experienced great success under Jupp Heynckes and Pep Guardiola.
Ever the consummate professional, the delay in Van Gaal's announcement as Red Devils manager is, in some ways, indicative only that the English giants are close to appointing a perfectionist of the highest order.
Per Jackson's report, Van Gaal insists his current focus is with his Netherlands squad and their World Cup campaign, showing great patience and a diligence to ensure the timing of his unveiling is right:
I have invested a lot of time in this, so you can imagine how very important [the World Cup] is for me and the players. I've been in football for 40 years. In three months I'm 63. So I can manage the situation.
You keep focused because of the training sessions, because of the team meetings and the tactical meetings. And because of the passion of the players that play at the world championships. It is always the case that we want to be focused on the competition.
The Express' James Dickenson reports that a £27 million bid for Luke Shaw has already been made to Southampton, with United seeking a potential successor for the soon-to-be out-of-contract Patrice Evra.
Broadcaster Ben Lyttleton suggests Van Gaal may utilise the teenager, soon to depart for Brazil as part of England's World Cup squad, in a wing-back capacity:
Arjen Robben was brought to the Allianz Arena from Real Madrid not long after the 62-year-old assumed his spot as Der FCB's manager, while Thomas Mueller and Toni Kroos were first afforded more prominent positions in the squad under Van Gaal.
After seeing that trio win back-to-back Bundesliga titles, a Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and one DFB-Pokal crown following his exit, the tactician is looking to once again make full use of their ability.
ESPN has hinted Mueller would have to request a transfer should he wish to see plans of a move to United come to fruition:
Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels has a slightly more strained link to the United manager-in-waiting, who played a part in the defender's move away from Bayern, something Van Gaal will look back upon as a major blunder.
However, he too has gone on to score great accomplishments in recent years, and it would appear the German international staple is being eyed as one replacement to fill the voids soon to be left in central defence.
Nemanja Vidic has long been known as a free signing for Inter this summer, whereas Rio Ferdinand was more recently confirmed to be on his way out of the club when his contract expires, writes the Daily Star's Colin Harvey.
It's a batch of players that won't come cheap, admittedly, considering the likes of Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp aren't likely to be all that compliant in simply allowing some of their biggest talents to depart without resistance.
United's inability to secure European football could stunt their bids to sign such a worldly cast, who will undoubtedly be eager to feature in elite continental competition.
However, Van Gaal's name and prestige brings with it an allure of its own, and contingencies have been set in place should the club fail to haul in their primary targets.