For top clubs, a new manager often signals the arrival of a number of top players, and things are no different for Manchester United in 2014. Louis van Gaal has already been quite busy during the transfer window, but the Red Devils haven't finished just yet.
Several big names are still being linked with a move to Old Trafford, and while that doesn't automatically mean United will add multiple world-class players between now and the start of the Premier League season, Van Gaal will continue working at bringing at least one more asset to the club.
Here are three big-money moves the Red Devils are reportedly still eyeing.
The Dutch international has been out with a major knee injury since March, suggesting potential suitors will wait to make their move to see how his knee holds up. However, Van Gaal refused to rule out a move for the powerful midfielder ahead of the team's friendly against As Roma, per Sky Sports:
I never say anything about individual players - it's my vision that we have to be about the team and not individual players. Other players, not at Manchester United, I can't judge - I am not there. Strootman I can judge, but he has been injured for more than six months. We have to wait and see how he comes back. It's not so easy to come back out of an injury, so we'll wait and see.
Van Gaal is well aware of Strootman's ability on the pitch, as he coached the player during his time as the Netherlands' manager. He has likely done extensive scouting on his strengths and weaknesses, and Strootman has very few of the latter.
Providing he makes a full recovery, Strootman is just the kind of midfield enforcer the Red Devils need to protect their back four. He's too technical to be considered a "bully," but he can dominate play in the centre of the pitch with his physicality and athleticism.
On the ball, he's a more than capable passer who is surprisingly comfortable playing farther up the pitch. There's no doubt Strootman would significantly improve the squad, but health remains a question mark. Manchester Evening News' Rob Dawson agrees:
A move in January would make more sense at this point, although Strootman's price tag is likely to rise should he make a full recovery and return to pre-injury form.
It's the rumour that just won't go away. Fans of both Juventus and United are probably sick of this saga at this point, but there has been too much smoke for there to be no fire—the Red Devils are in the mix for the Chilean, whether you like it or not.
Bianconeri president Beppe Marotta is confident the midfielder won't make the move, however, per Sky Sports' Simone Bargellini and Nadia Carminati:
Arturo signed a contract extension last season because there was a mutual desire to continue our relationship. There is no reason for him to leave. I can confirm Vidal is happy to be with us and there’s no reason for alarm. Nobody can doubt the quality of the player, nor how strong his bond is with Juventus.
That doesn't mean this saga is over, however. Vidal still seems likely to stay in Turin for the time being, but the team's 3-2 loss in a friendly against an amateur side once again highlighted the complete disarray the Bianconeri find themselves in.
If ever there was a time to jump ship for Vidal, the summer of 2014 would probably be it. His value on the open market won't get much higher than it already is, so if the Chilean presses for a transfer, it's not outlandish to assume Juventus would decide to cash in.
Angel Di Maria
Di Maria's transfer to Paris Saint-Germain seemed all but a certainty, but the French club's difficulty with Financial Fair Play regulations has kept Real Madrid waiting, opening the door for the Red Devils to move for the Argentine winger.
As reported by AS, Van Gaal has given his blessing for the club to make an offer for Di Maria, as PSG's Laurent Blanc tried to dodge questions regarding the player:
"For the moment nothing’s been done. Talks? I’m not the one who should be talking about that. It’s up to the club”.
Les Parisiens are reportedly looking at a one-year loan deal to circumvent FFP regulations, per AS, and if the Red Devils could offer Los Blancos an immediate permanent solution, such an offer would be far more attractive.
That also applies to Di Maria, who in all likelihood would prefer an immediate transfer to a loan deal, running the risk of the French club not exercising their right to make the deal permanent at the end of the season.
The French champions are still in pole position for Di Maria's signature, but it can't hurt for the Red Devils to at least make an offer and see what happens.