While Louis van Gaal won’t officially begin his job as Manchester United manager until after the World Cup, all the signs are that he is keen to already have signings in place by that point. A squad that finished a desperately disappointing seventh in the Premier League last season is expected to get a significant overhaul this summer.
And Van Gaal could begin that undertaking by skillfully combining his two roles. According to the Daily Mirror, the Netherlands coach is keen to bring two members of his World Cup squad to Old Trafford -- Feyenoord duo Jordy Clasie and Bruno Martins Indi. Clasie has previously been suggested as a player who could fill the void in the center of United’s midfield, while Martins Indi is a central defender who would be seen as a replacement for departing experienced duo Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. The two players, both aged 22, have become important parts of the Netherlands setup under Van Gaal.
The Mirror suggests that, not wanting to upset Feyenoord by intervening into the prospective transfers personally, he has instead passed files on the players onto Manchester United.
There have also been plenty of rumors that Van Gaal will be keen to bring another of his current Dutch squad to Old Trafford, Arjen Robben. The former Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Ajax coach has a tradition of using wide forwards and United’s current crop leaves much to be desired. Robben, a target for United before he joined Chelsea in 2004, always appeared an unlikely option, however. The 30-year-old has enjoyed a strong first season under Pep Guardiola and finished the campaign by scoring the winning goal in the DFB-Pokal final. And Robben has confirmed that he has no interest in leaving the Allianz Arena.
“Manchester United? That's not an option,” he told Dutch publication De Telegraaf, reports Sky Sports. “I am staying at Bayern Munich. Period. And I cannot imagine that Bayern would want to sell me.
“I have only just renewed my contract and we are happy with each other. It would have been a different story had I been unhappy. I would have been open to a move then, because I had a great time under Van Gaal at Bayern. He has been very important for my career. However, fact is that I am very happy at my current club.”
Instead, the winger Manchester United appear to be chasing is Ukrainian star Yevhen Konoplyanka. The Guardian has reported that Van Gaal is deliberating over whether to pay Dnipro his €15 million (£12.2m) release clause. Liverpool attempted to meet the same clause in January but were not given permission to sign the player. The Guardian believes that United will have the edge, even if Liverpool come back in with the offer of playing in the Champions League. Dnipro sporting director Andrey Stetsenko strongly suggested that the talented 24-year-old, who plays on the left but cuts inside on his right foot, could soon be on the move.
“Our scouts are working to find his replacement,” he said, according to The Guardian. “Sooner or later Konoplyanka will leave Dnipro. We know that English, Spanish and German clubs are monitoring the situation and are interested in the player. But we have had no offers. His contract has a buyout clause worth €15m for foreign clubs. For Ukrainian clubs the buyout is more.
“Konoplyanka spoke to me and said that if he did not have offers from foreign clubs in the future it would not be a problem. He would stay with us with pleasure and continue to play for Dnipro.”