After earning just one point in their first two Premier League contests against Swansea City and Sunderland, the Red Devils suffered one of the most humiliating losses in club history—a 4-0 defeat at the hands of League One's MK Dons in the Capital One Cup.
With just days remaining until the summer transfer window slams shut, Van Gaal is left scrambling to improve his team as much as possible.
Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal has long been believed to be at the top of the target list, and the rumored offer from Manchester United would appear to confirm that belief. It doesn't seem to matter, though, as Massimiliano Allegri and his club aren't budging on a sale.
Translating a report from La Gazzetta, Omid Zamani provides the rumor:
Today's #gds says Vidal's agent submitted Utd bid (which is probably the reason why he was in Manchester on Tuesday & yesterday in Milano).— Omid Zamani (@OmldZamani) August 28, 2014
That's already a pretty big offer, but don't expect that to stop the Red Devils' pursuit over the next few days. Vidal, 27, is a versatile, box-to-box midfielder who has a high work rate on defense and an ability to create for others on the attack. For a United squad in need of an injection of energy, tenacity and creativity, the fiery Chilean seems like the perfect solution.
Still, as Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe reported, Vidal to United is a massive long shot at this point:
Looking in a cheaper direction, Van Gaal and Co. could potentially turn their focus towards Sporting Lisbon's William Carvalho. Talk surrounding the talented 22-year-old Portuguese international has subsided a bit this summer, but it's heating up once again.
Mark Ogden of The Telegraph has the latest:
Manchester United are preparing to thwart Arsenal's attempts to sign William Carvalho after renewing interest in the £24 million-rated Sporting Lisbon midfielder.
With Sporting now prepared to lower their asking price after seeing Real Madrid drop their initial interest in Carvalho earlier this summer, United believe a deal can be done for the Angola-born defensive midfielder, who was one of the few shining lights of Portugal's unsuccessful World Cup campaign in Brazil.
Although Carvalho doesn't cover nearly as much of the pitch as Vidal, the defensive midfielder is a strong, physical presence who could help shield the back line. As he showed during the World Cup, he has a very bright future.
If he can be had for the right price, it would be a savvy signing for United.
Another player whose name has been mentioned a lot in recent weeks is Daley Blind, who thrived under Van Gaal for the Netherlands at the World Cup.
We believe that we currently have a strong team and want Daley to stay for another year. Only if the absolute top price is paid is a transfer negotiable.
Daley's management know how we feel at the moment. Next year, we will have a much more lenient policy, we are willing to talk with Daley and we will settle for a reasonable price.
Taking price into the equation, who would you like to see Manchester United sign?
It will be intriguing to see how United attack the next couple of days. With the way things have looked as of late, they are undoubtedly in need of some kind of help—and they clearly have plenty of targets to make that happen.
We'll see if any of the rumours turn out to be more than just that.