After suffering a defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup, Manchester United’s season is hanging in the balance. The success of Louis van Gaal’s first campaign in charge will come down to whether he can keep United in the top four and secure a return to the Champions League, a goal which is likely to depend heavily on the club’s next two matches against Tottenham and Liverpool. Yet there are strong reports that, regardless of the outcome, Van Gaal’s job will be safe and that, furthermore, he will be given further significant funds to bolster his squad in the transfer market this summer.
Indeed, according to ESPN’s sources the amount spent could approach the £150 million outlay in Van Gaal’s first transfer window in charge. A significant chunk of that could be required to secure a player who continues to be linked with a move to Old Trafford, Paulo Dybala. The 21-year-old striker has performed sensationally for Palermo this season, netting 12 goals and laying on seven assists. Those feats are believed to have also attracted the interest of a host of top clubs across Europe, with Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini having previously conceded there is little chance of being able to retain his services. But, comparing the quick and technically gifted Dybala to the world’s best, Zamparini -- a man who’s no stranger to hyperbole -- insisted that he won’t be allowed to leave on the cheap.
“For me, Dybala is the Messi of the future,” he told Radio Anch'io, reports Goal.com. “I value him at 40 million euros (£28.2 million), but we will have to wait and see what happens at the end of the season. There has been a lot of talk about Dybala, but his agent is just doing his work. I have a good relationship with him. The transfer fee we will receive for Dybala will be reinvested. We have an ongoing project. Even if Dybala were to leave, other important players will arrive.”
With Radamel Falcao looking increasingly unlikely to have his loan spell turned into a permanent transfer and Robin van Persie still struggling for fitness and form, Manchester United’s forward lineup could get a major reshuffle this summer. And rumors have surfaced that West Brom’s Saido Berahino is one of those being targeted. The England Under-21 international was spotted in the stands at Old Trafford during United’s loss to Arsenal on Monday. His signing would be something of a gamble, however, with his attitude having been questioned at West Brom, although he has recently overcome a mid-season slump to score four goals in his last six appearances.
Speculation continues to suggest that one of United’s biggest purchases of the summer could be Belgian midfielder Kevin de Bruyne. Having left Chelsea in January 2014, the attacking midfielder is enjoying an outstanding season at Wolfsburg and is now valued at least £30 million. However, Wolfsburg, currently on course to secure a Champions League berth for next season, appear to have no intention of losing De Bruyne just yet.
“I think he would benefit from another year in the Bundesliga,” Wolfsburg manager Dieter Hecking said, according to the Daily Express. “That's what I would want. Kevin feels good, he's enjoying a good season and it is clear that he is in very, very good hands with us. I don't see him going anywhere in the summer.”
One player who it now appears won’t be ending up at Old Trafford is Dani Alves. The Barcelona right-back will be out of contract in the summer and had been strongly linked with a free transfer to Manchester United. Yet, according to Spanish sports daily Marca, he has agreed to a three-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain. Instead, United could be turning to another Brazilian, in the form of Porto’s Danilo. The former Santos player was reported to have agreed to a 30 million euros (£21.1 million) transfer to Real Madrid, but the Daily Mail reports that United have made contact with Porto in attempt to make a late play for his signature.