Manchester United Transfer News: Latest on Vanja Milinkovic and More

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2014

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  (L-R) Luke Shaw of Southampton holds off Chris Smalling of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium on May 11, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Manchester United are reportedly set to embark on a major spending spree this summer and have already begun refreshing their squad ahead of next season.

The club's official website reported a deal has been secured to sign young goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic from FK Vojvodina. The 17-year-old stopper has already represented the Serbia national team at youth level.

He will likely be expected to learn behind current first choice David de Gea, who is one of the few United players to emerge from an arduous campaign with any real credit.

But the Red Devils obviously need more than just a reserve 'keeper to refresh a squad that slipped from first to seventh in one year. Fortunately, the club's coffers have been swelled by record revenues of £115.5 million, according to Daily Star Sunday reporter Colin Harvey.

He believes the boost in revenue will prompt heavy investment in this summer's transfer market. One prime target could be young Southampton full-back Luke Shaw, per another report from Harvey.

Luke Shaw is seen as United's left-back for the next decade.
Luke Shaw is seen as United's left-back for the next decade.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The precocious left-back could help regenerate an ageing back four. United have already waved goodbye to centre-back Rio Ferdinand, according to writer Ben Hibbs.

Fellow central defender Nemanja Vidic is off to Serie A outfit Inter Milan, per BBC Sport. He could be joined by left-back Patrice Evra, who has undergone a medical with Italian champions Juventus, per Sunday Express reporter Ben Jefferson.

Shaw would be a capable replacement for the Frenchman. He is a powerful runner who breaks effectively from defence and would ensure United don't miss Evra's trademark raids forward.

Shaw might also blossom into a more resolute defender than calamity-prone Evra has been in recent seasons. Shaw wins 58 percent of his defensive duels, per Squawka, compared to the 50 percent won by Evra, per the same source.

Still only 18, Shaw is a rising star at his position. Although consistency still eludes him, his obvious talent will make him a linchpin for whichever big club comes calling this summer.

But Shaw might not be the only full-back headed to Old Trafford. The Red Devils could be ready to poach French veteran Bacary Sagna from English Premier League rival Arsenal.

John Richardson of the Sunday Express claims United manager-to-be Louis van Gaal wants to take advantage of Sagna's contract expiring with the FA Cup winners.

Bacary Sagna is a prime target for prospective United manager Louis van Gaal.
Bacary Sagna is a prime target for prospective United manager Louis van Gaal.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Richardson contends van Gaal is determined to beat current EPL champions Manchester City to a deal for the 31-year-old defender. Adding Sagna makes more sense for United than City.

While the Citizens already have the physically imposing and ultra-athletic Pablo Zabaleta, United's options on the right are sketchy. Brazilian Rafael da Silva is still too reckless, while de facto central defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have failed to impress as emergency full-backs.

By contrast, Sagna is highly accomplished. He has almost limitless energy to raid the flank and deliver crosses.

The ex-Auxerre ace is still strong in the challenge and quick enough to cover forward-breaking runners. Having played under Gunners boss Arsene Wenger since 2007, Sagna is also comfortable with the kind of quality possession game van Gaal demands.

Refreshing the defence will be pivotal to van Gaal's efforts to make United EPL title contenders again. The team conceded 43 times this season, per That's 16 more than third-placed Chelsea, owners of the competition's meanest defence.

But van Gaal won't focus all of his efforts on the back four. He'll also want to add to an attack already brimming with talent like Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata.

Apparently, the former Bayern Munich and current Netherlands national team coach wants to sign Arjen Robben. Metro reporter Simon Osborn indicates Bayern Munich's 30-year-old flying winger will be a prime target once van Gaal is officially appointed.

Robben is one of the best players in the world and has won numerous major trophies in Munich. He also bagged consecutive EPL titles with Chelsea in 2005 and 2006.

The fleet-footed trickster has hurt United in the past, netting the goal that knocked the club out of the UEFA Champions League in 2010.

Robben could be persuaded to continue working with van Gaal after the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Osborn believes van Gaal will test his old club's resolve with a £25 million offer.

Robben's presence would give United a truly feared attacking quartet, allowing the team to put van Gaal's total football ideas into practice.

Obviously, significant changes can be expected at Old Trafford once the new manager is appointed. Previous boss David Moyes failed largely because he didn't stamp his own identity on the team during his first transfer window.

This time United appear primed to let van Gaal do just that.


    Benched Bale More Isolated Than Ever in Madrid

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Benched Bale More Isolated Than Ever in Madrid

    J. L. Calderón
    via MARCA in English

    Revealed: Messi & Aguero Love Fortnite & Reggaeton

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Revealed: Messi & Aguero Love Fortnite & Reggaeton

    via Goal

    Concerns Grow Over Alexis & Pogba's Mental State at Man Utd

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Concerns Grow Over Alexis & Pogba's Mental State at Man Utd

    James Ducker,
    via The Telegraph

    Report: Man Utd Players 'Ripped into Alexis vs. Sevilla

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Report: Man Utd Players 'Ripped into Alexis vs. Sevilla

    via mirror