Louis van Gaal "has told" Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward to secure the signing of Angel Di Maria before the end of the transfer window, according to reports.
The Dutch manager watched on as his side crumbled during his first competitive match in charge, losing 2-1 to a Swansea team who offered very little attacking threat. Despite a neat equaliser from Wayne Rooney, the Swans snatched victory when United failed to deal with a speedy break.
Van Gaal now wishes to add world-class quality to his team, starting with Real Madrid's versatile winger. Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail details what the club are ready to offer Di Maria:
It is understood United have told the Argentine that, with performance-based incentives, they will pay him around £200,000 a week. Over a five-year deal that would take United’s investment to £100m when a transfer fee of around £50m is included.
Will Manchester United sign Angel Di Maria this summer?
Ladyman also notes "Di Maria is aware of United’s capacity to pay big wages and has told his family of his surprise" that the Red Devils' offer gazumps anything Paris Saint-Germain were ready to put forward.
Van Gaal previously name-dropped Di Maria when discussing what he needs, saying, "we don't have wingers of the highest level, like (Cristiano) Ronaldo or Di Maria or somebody like that," per Sky Sports.
Di Maria is one of many signings needed at Old Trafford. United's positive pre-season came crashing into reality when the competitive whistle sounded, with many glaring gaps noticeable within the team.
The use of Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, Adnan Januzaj and Nani at wing-back highlight both the club's need for defenders and wingers. At least one central midfielder is also craved, as Darren Fletcher underlined the fears of many by highlighting he isn't as fit or agile as he used to be.
Van Gaal could immediately plug a couple of holes with Di Maria. The Argentinian is lethal on either flank and can play through the middle, where he offers tireless energy. He can carry the ball, win it back and will deliver penetrative passes (as he did during Madrid's friendly loss to Fiorentina on Saturday). The 26-year-old's ability to switch through the gears in an instant would also go down a treat.
Samuel Luckhurst of the Huffington Post suggests United have wasted too much time during the summer:
#mufc said after Herrera joined they'd go for Vidal. Woodward's out of his depth but Van Gaal's made the same diplomatic mistakes as Moyes.— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) August 17, 2014
And the expectation was Van Gaal would be ruthless. He still might be but preparation ahead of the new season poor again.— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) August 17, 2014
The worry for United fans now stems from how similar this year is when compared with the last. David Moyes began his tenure by thrashing Swansea, but the lack of signings quickly took hold for the Scotsman. As the seconds ticked away and Van Gaal switched his team into playing hopeful long balls toward Marouane Fellaini on Saturday, it was almost as if Moyes had never left.
Can two managers be blamed for the lack of signings? Is Woodward the sole perpetrator behind United's tight purse strings? Will the Glazers continue to use the club to saddle their debt without mobilising the funds needed to compete? These are all important questions that United fans should be asking. It's likely this situation isn't down to one individual, a perhaps more worrying sign than if it was.
United now face a difficult away trip to Sunderland in the Premier League. Gus Poyet's men won't make it easy and will be ready to pound on the misery.
Supporters may take heart from United's improved form away from home last season, but if the Black Cats lunge forward quickly on the counter and exploit the wings, Van Gaal's side will have a major problem on their hands.
The club faces a major week before kick-off. United should enter the next match with a plethora of new faces sprinkled throughout the team, but then again, they should have done this from the beginning of the Premier League season. Worryingly, it seems everyone but those in charge understands exactly what United need to begin gaining momentum once more.