Big-Money Buys Still on Manchester United's Radar
Last week, Manchester United Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward said United were "not afraid of spending significant amounts of money in the transfer market," but who are the players on whom the club may spend that money?
Woodward's comments have been fuel for the fire of transfer speculation that has been burning brightly all summer long.
Given he insists there is "no budget"—by which he presumably means no limits on spending rather than no money available to spend—who might United splash the cash on between now and September?
It had all gone quiet. It looked like the summer-long speculation around Arturo Vidal's potential move from Turin to Manchester had finally ended.
However, on Monday, rumours began to surface again, this time in the Italian press. Details of these rumours were covered by Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Gianni Verschueren here.
There are suggestions the fee could be around £47.5 million, which is big money in anyone's book.
I have previously written about why Vidal would be such a good signing for United, and nothing has changed my mind on that. He is a wonderful player, of exactly the type United need.
The Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman has already had a significant impact on Manchester United, in spite of never playing for the club.
His injury was the impetus for Louis van Gaal's switch to 3-5-2 with the Netherlands. Van Gaal has imported that system to United after it proved very successful in the World Cup.
Van Gaal has often praised Strootman, and it is no surprise to see him linked with United. What is a slight surprise is the reported fee. Tony Little of The Sun (subscription required) claims Roma will require a bid of £79 million.
Whether that fee is in response to Woodward's bullish comments about United's financial muscle is unclear. What is clear, is that any reunion between Van Gaal and Strootman would be a very expensive affair.
Angel Di Maria
Another summer-long saga, Angel di Maria has battled with Vidal for most column inches spent on discussing a potential move to Manchester United.
On Monday, Miguel Delaney of ESPN FC reported that United continue to monitor the Di Maria situation, but that the player prefers a move to Paris Saint-Germain.
However, according to Harry Pratt & Steve Millar of the Daily Star, Di Maria has become frustrated with PSG and wants an Old Trafford move.
A key question that remains about this potential transfer is where Di Maria would play in Van Gaal's new system at United.
Given that it is a winger-less formation, is there a natural fit for the Argentine? Or would he add to United's already well-stocked portfolio of forwards, competing for one or two places in the starting XI?
If Van Gaal is planning to switch to 4-3-3 when he has strengthened United's midfield ranks, then the Di Maria acquisition would make a lot of sense. For now, though, it would be a case of signing a fine player because he is available, rather than signing to strengthen an area of weakness.
According to Alex Harris of the Express, United's pursuit of Edinson Cavani is benefited by PSG's desire to sign Di Maria. Harris cites "reports" to suggest that both Di Maria and PSG are "desperate" to complete the transfer, and that Cavani moving to United would enable this.
The Cavani move would seem, even more so than any potential move for Di Maria, to be at odds with United's needs.
At least Di Maria would be a phenomenal asset should United switch to 4-3-3. Cavani, on the other hand, is at his best as a central striker, and United have no shortage of high-class talent in that area.
However, the rumours will not go away, so perhaps there is something in it. If United are to spend fortunes, it would seem logical that there are other areas on which they should concentrate.
For now, Cavani is a big-money signing on Manchester United's radar. It is just a bit difficult to understand why.