The 30-year-old Dutchman has a longstanding relationship with Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal, who has overseen periods of success with Robben at Bayern and in the Netherlands national team. Birch's translation suggests United are "ready to step up their pursuit" with a winter bid.
During the summer, Van Gaal admitted Robben "is always welcome" to join him at Old Trafford, an approach the former Chelsea man refuted after the 2014 World Cup. Robben admitted he has a "special bond" with the veteran manager, saying "he is the most important coach in my career," per Jeremy Wilson of the Daily Telegraph.
Robben has scored eight goals and contributed four assists across 14 appearances in the Bundesliga and the Champions League this season. Only Angel Di Maria possesses his ability to drive forward in possession at United, indicating his injection of pace could improve the side's all-round tempo.
B/R UK's Rob Blanchette believes Robben is the man to fire United toward an unlikely title challenge:
Robben and Wayne Rooney would be perfect, in tandem with Radamel Falcao. But you could add in an RvP here, or a James Wilson there. You could push Di Maria forward and let Rooney drop in, or you could allow Ander Herrera or Marouane Fellaini to break forward as Michael Carrick or Daley Blind sits.
The options for Van Gaal would be endless—if he can get the squad fully fit simultaneously.
It's fair to say Robben would only be a short-term fit for the club, though, making an expensive fee seem something of a risk. A younger, fresher alternative could be sought, but it is less likely to deliver instant results.
One other option could be Paris Saint-Germain's Lucas Moura. The rapid Brazilian has allegedly been offered to United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool by the Ligue 1 champions, per Bruce Archer of the Daily Express. Linked to United before moving to France, the 22-year-old may finally get his chance to impress in the Premier League.
Lucas has managed to hold down a regular position in Laurent Blanc's side this season, scoring six goals in 16 domestic division displays,. Often situated to the right of his manager's 4-3-3 formation, Lucas is an extremely skillful and exciting individual who continues to improve his work rate for the entire team.
His qualities are highlighted below:
Van Gaal's decision to bid for either player could be influenced by outside factors. Robben may be deemed surplus to requirements at Bayern if the Bavarian club deliver on their interest in Marco Reus, per Sport1 (via Sky Sports). Lucas could become a far more important player at the Parc des Princes if Edinson Cavani secures a move to Arsenal, per Ben Jefferson of the Daily Express.
Although Van Gaal seems happy to stick with what he knows, perhaps favouring Robben, the situation is likely to be heavily impacted by the needs of other clubs. United have confirmed they "anticipate a higher level of net player capital expenditure" after Edward Glazer put three million shares up for sale, per Mike Keegan of BBC Sport, meaning the boss is expected to drop serious cash on talent.
The team must find greater explosiveness moving forward. Van Gaal's men lacked troubling speed and penetration during the 2-1 win over Southampton, a match which ranks among United's worst performances in recent memory. The club currently sit third in the Premier League but need to seriously consider spending handsomely in January if a Champions League berth is to be attained.
Stats via WhoScored.com unless otherwise noted.