The summer transfer window has already been quite busy for Manchester United, but according to the latest reports, Louis van Gaal is only just getting started. The Red Devils are still linked with a number of players, including some absolutely world-class talent.
Looking to upgrade the squad significantly from the one that finished outside of the European places last season, United are still in the market for some muscle in the centre of the pitch and another player capable of consistently putting the ball in the back of the net.
With that in mind, let's have a look at three big-money stars Van Gaal is still looking to bring into the fold during the summer.
Per Goal's Paul Clenman, Juventus' asking price of £45 million plus Nani could prove to be too steep for the Red Devils, but that doesn't mean both clubs can no longer work out a transfer fee they'd both feel comfortable with.
After all, Van Gaal told reporters how much of an admirer he was of the player before his Dutch team took on Vidal's Chile during the 2014 World Cup, per Goal's Liam Twomey:
"Chile have very dangerous players. I always wanted to buy Vidal when he was at Bayer Leverkusen but he went to Juventus."
The Dutch manager could very well have that chance now. Vidal has given no indication he's looking to leave the Italian champions during the summer, but the Bianconeri don't have the kind of financial firepower to decline a substantial offer for the midfielder.
And while Vidal is undoubtedly the team's top performer in midfield, they have the pieces necessary to deal with his loss. Claudio Marchisio spent much of last season on the Turin bench, and he would at least make for an adequate replacement in the centre of the pitch.
Vidal is an athletic freak who always makes a big impact on the pitch, whether he's defending his own goal or contributing to the attack. Any team in world football could use a player like him, and with the Red Devils often struggling to get a grip on the midfield battle, the Chilean would be a dream fit.
According to Clenman, United could turn their attention to Sporting's Carvalho should a deal for Vidal prove to be too costly. Rated at £37 million, the youngster has the potential to be just as good as Vidal at some point in the future, and he could be available this summer.
Sporting's Augusto Ignacio recently told the club's official TV channel Carvalho could very well leave, although he wouldn't leave on the cheap (via The Independent):
It's not like the old days when players left Sporting at any price. We are not concerned with William Carvalho because we have alternatives who will want to play as well.
The termination clause ensures a great deal to Sporting. I am very pleased with the negotiations.
It is not easy to negotiate for players - you need to be very shrewd - but Sporting have a president who knows how to negotiate with anyone and what is best for the club.
Carvalho is a more defensive-minded player than Vidal, but per WhoScored.com, the 22-year-old still scored four goals in league play last season. He has phenomenal size and athleticism for the position, and even at such a young age, his vision and positioning are already top-notch.
Sporting's youth setup has trained several world-class players in the past (including one Cristiano Ronaldo), and Carvalho is just the next in line. His blend of power and technique would make the player an instant hit at Old Trafford, making for a nice alternative to Vidal.
Angel di Maria
Per the Daily Star's Paul Brown, United are ready to offer Real Madrid £40 million for the Argentine winger, who recently admitted he didn't know where his future would lie, per The Independent's Charles Reynolds:
“We do not know if I’ll stay in Madrid. I’m happy, but I’ll see what happens."
The Red Devils reportedly value the player at £30 million, but Los Blancos have offered Di Maria to the Red Devils for £40 million. Jan Aage Fjortoft was pretty clear in his assessment of what the Mancunians should do:
If Manchester United is "offered" di Maria, Ed Woodward should travel to Brazil NOW and carry him to Manchester. #MUFC— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) July 4, 2014
Pace, technique and a relentless approach to the game are Di Maria's biggest assets. He has been one of Real's most consistent performers in the past two years but was often forced to take a backseat to stars like Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
In Manchester, Di Maria would be the star winger himself, and given space to roam up and down the flank, he would quickly develop into one of the Premier League's most dangerous options out wide.
No Champions League football for at least one season could prove to be problematic when it comes to negotiations, but it's not a hurdle the two parties shouldn't be able to overcome. If United are all-in for Di Maria, expect to see him plying his trade at Old Trafford next season.