Manchester United Transfer News: Updated Gossip for 2014 Summer Window

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2014

NATAL, BRAZIL - JUNE 24:  Edinson Cavani of Uruguay reacts during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

New Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal told reporters he'll wait before making any new signings. But that hasn't stopped the transfer rumour mill from churning out some high-profile names.

Among them is Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani. However, following a disappointing season at both club and international level, United fans might not be too excited about the Uruguayan's potential arrival.

However, those same supporters should be encouraged by positive news concerning mooted new defensive recruits. Latest reports indicate United are still in with a chance to sign Dutch stoppers Daley Blind and Stefan De Vrij.

That has to be considered positive in the context of Van Gaal's obvious need to replenish depleted defensive ranks. Here's a closer look at each rumour individually, beginning with the possible pursuit of Cavani:


Financial Fair Play Issues Could Send Cavani to Old Trafford

According to Alex Harris of the Daily Express, problems negotiating UEFA Financial Fair Play rules could force PSG to sell Cavani. Specifically, the Ligue 1 champions' pursuit of £48 million-rated Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria could prompt the sale.

PSG's proposed deal for Di Maria puts Cavani in United's range.
PSG's proposed deal for Di Maria puts Cavani in United's range.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Harris has identified United as the chief candidates to capitalise on Cavani's availability:

David Luiz moved to Laurent Blanc's side for £50 million and a similarly priced move for Di Maria would leave them falling foul of the transfer rules. 

According to reports, Di Maria and the French capital club are both desperate to complete the deal leaving United in pole position to swoop for Cavani.

Cavani has prompted his agent to consider offers from the Premier League, according to Sky Sports. However, United's proposed interest is a little curious.

For one thing, striker is probably the strongest position in the squad. That's certainly true when both Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney are fit and firing.

The Red Devils are also blessed with solid cover in Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck. At least that's how it appears.

That solidity may only be surface deep when considering Hernandez's recent erratic form and Welbeck's difficulty locating the net. The young England international scored just nine league goals last season, while Hernandez managed a mere four, per

Misfiring pair Welbeck and Hernandez could both leave Old Trafford.
Misfiring pair Welbeck and Hernandez could both leave Old Trafford.Michael Regan/Getty Images

Both players have been linked with moves away from Old Trafford. Welbeck was reportedly drawing interest from north London duo Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur back in late April, per Jamie Jackson of The Guardian.

Meanwhile, Hernandez is currently linked with a switch to Serie A side Inter Milan, per Ben Jefferson of the Daily Express. Losing either one of these strikers would certainly create room for Cavani.

He wasn't always at his best in the French capital last season. He netted 20 club goals, per, but Cavani never relished playing second fiddle to towering Swedish sensation Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Van Gaal may feel he can fit the 27-year-old into a 4-3-3 formation. The Dutch boss has often favoured that tactical structure and Cavani is certainly quick and skilled enough to thrive in it. Of course, he'd first have to show a willingness to share the load with Rooney and Van Persie.


Lazio's Hesitance Puts De Vrij Back in Play

Van Gaal would find it easier to convince De Vrij to come to Manchester. That's still a real possibility according to the latest gossip.

Proposed suitors Lazio remain unwilling to pay the Feyenoord centre-back's asking price, per another report from Alex Harris of the Daily Express:

Reports previously indicated that the Feyenoord defender wanted to sign for Italian side Lazio dashing Louis van Gaal's hopes of a reunion.

But the Italian press are today reporting that Biancocelesti owner Claudio Lotito has failed to meet the Dutch club's £7 million valuation, instead offering just £5.5 million. 

The Italian club's failure to seal the deal has given renewed hope to van Gaal that United can lure the defender to Manchester while allowing himself time to assess his current squad.

Unlike Cavani, De Vrij would have no trouble finding an obvious place in Van Gaal's starting XI. He would join a threadbare position group hit by the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.

Pursuing Dutch centre-back De Vrij makes perfect sense for United.
Pursuing Dutch centre-back De Vrij makes perfect sense for United.Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

United desperately need new options at the heart of defence. Chris Smalling has been unimpressive when given chances at his natural position. Things also haven't been helped by brittle bruiser Phil Jones' inability to avoid injury.

De Vrij would slot in as a quick and accomplished stopper, also comfortable in possession. If £7 million is all it will take, Van Gaal shouldn't waste any time before signing his countryman.


Barcelona Enter Race for Blind

Van Gaal will have a tougher time signing De Vrij's fellow Netherlands international Blind. That's because La Liga giants FC Barcelona are now reportedly interested, per Daily Star writer Colin Harvey:

And while United's new boss Louis Van Gaal knew all about the versatile full back his performances have caught Barcelona's eye.

With the Catalan giants rebuilding, reports in Spain suggest Barca are going to try and dispose United as the front-runners for Blind.

It is suggested Blind is now United's No. 1 defensive target because of his price and versatility.

Of the two teams, United certainly have the greater need for Blind. While Barca can rely on Jordi Alba at left-back, the Red Devils are not so fortunate.

Veteran incumbent Patrice Evra wants to bolt to Juventus, according to BBC Sport reporter Simon Stone. Blind certainly rates as a worthy replacement for the decorated but declining Frenchman.

He's quick across the ground, can certainly pick a pass and isn't afraid of the physical aspects of the game. Those qualities are perfect for the intense tempo of the Premier League.

They are also skills available at a bargain fee. values the 24-year-old Ajax ace at the rather precise figure of £5.28 million. Obviously, that's a fee comfortably within Van Gaal's range.

Van Gaal's connection to the player from international level could seal a move. Snaring both Blind and De Vrij would be a great start to creating a new-look defence.

The latest transfer gossip surrounding Van Gaal's plans seems to fit with much of his managerial past. Both Blind and De Vrij are young and solid players, ready to be shaped into stars. That's a profile Van Gaal has pursued and worked with at every club he's been to.

However, he's also made room for established marquee names. Somebody like Cavani would be the headline-grabbing addition United's new era needs.


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