There’s no escaping the size of the job that Louis van Gaal has on his hands at Old Trafford. After a season of deterioration under David Moyes, the club is at its lowest ebb in decades and the Dutchman will be tasked with galvanising a dressing room for whom familiar failure is an unfamiliar concept.
But the need to add to the squad—and add to the squad with genuine quality—is paramount. New faces will help refresh what has become a somewhat stale first XI, and as you might expect, the 20-time English champions are being linked with a host of players from across the continent.
One player who used to be employed by the Red Devils is Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba. And any young players whom United recruit this summer will be hoping things work out better for them than the Frenchman, who has described his time at United as the worst moment of his career, per David Kent of the Mail Online:
My time at Manchester United. Of course when you are at such a big club you understand you need to be patient for your chance, but I did not feel respected or valued as a player or a man.
Here’s all the very latest news when it comes to those players linked with a move to Manchester, and whether they’re of the required calibre to spearhead Van Gaal’s Red Devils renaissance.
After a breakthrough campaign at the Vicente Calderon, Koke is a player who is set to be highly coveted this summer, with recent reports suggesting that United are in pole position to secure his signature.
According to Metro, the Old Trafford club are prepared to part with an enormous £48 million to bring the Spaniard to Manchester; a fee that would activate the players release clause. The player, who has also been linked with Barcelona, per Luke Augustus of the Mail Online, insists he's happy at Altetico:
Koke (Atletico): "Atletico is my home, I feel good here. It's an honour big clubs want to sign me, but I'm very happy at Atletico." [via md]— barcastuff (@barcastuff) May 30, 2014
Technically superb, astute in possession and ferocious off the ball, Koke looks tailor-made for the rigours of English football. Whilst regularly played in a wide role for Atletico Madrid this season, Koke is expected to blossom as an orthodox central midfield player, and he’s a player who would inject major quality into that area for United.
Here's a taster of what United fans could expect, should he join up:
If United can get him on board, it would be a real coup. Atletico will naturally be keen to withstand any approach for the player, but they’ll be powerless to prevent him from talking to United, should they stump up the aforementioned amount. Any offers less than that and you suspect the Spanish champions will send United on their way.
United are set to rekindle talks with the Southampton full-back as they move closer to finalising a big-money deal.
Would you pay £30 million for Shaw?
Reports earlier this week suggested that Chelsea were thinking about a move for the England international, per James Dickenson of The Express, but recent reports suggest the Red Devils remain very much in the box seat when it comes to acquiring the player’s services.
According to BBC Radio Solent (h/t BBC Sport), Saints will continue their negotiations with United this week after an initial £27 million bid was apparently rejected. It seems as though the Red Devils' hierarchy may have to up their bid to a figure approaching £30 million if they are to push through a deal, but even so, it would be money well spent.
At 18 years of age, Shaw would be the club’s left-back for years and years to come. If he ends up staying with United for a decade, £30 million would surely be viewed as a pittance. But with other clubs snooping around the player, the Red Devils must do all they can to expedite the transfer process.
The Uruguayan forward looks as though he’s likely to snub any approach from United in favour of Champions League football with his current club Paris Saint-Germain.
According to L’Equipe (h/t Luke Augustus of the Mail Online), Cavani is unhappy with his role at the Parc des Princes but has agreed to remain with the French champions for the time being. He has been regularly played in an unfamiliar wide position since his £55 million move from Napoli but still managed to score 20 goals in his first season at the club, per WhoScored.com.
Here’s some of the best bits from his first season in Paris:
After making such a high-profile transfer only last summer, a move for the 27-year-old at this juncture always looked as though it was going to be unlikely. United are well stocked in the centre-forward positions anyway, and any significant outlay they may have set aside for Cavani could be better utilised in other areas of the team.