Manchester United finally confirmed what has long been known today with their announcement that Louis van Gaal will be the club’s new manager. While the Dutchman will officially take over after leading the Netherlands at the World Cup, plans for the summer transfer window are already believed to be well underway.
Two players currently under Van Gaal’s charge are reported to be targets for the former Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Ajax and AZ Alkmaar boss. Van Gaal has worked with Arjen Robben at both Bayern and with the Netherlands and the Daily Mirror is among the outlets believing the new United boss wants to continue that relationship at Old Trafford. The Manchester club could do with a quality wide player to fit into Van Gaal’s 4-3-3 system and Robben, who was close to moving to Old Trafford in 2004 before joining Chelsea, would certainly be an upgrade on what’s currently on offer at United.
However, there now looks even scanter chance of prizing the 30-year-old away from the German double winners. Manager Pep Guardiola, has insisted that Robben is a key part of his team.
“He was probably the main attacker this year -- along with [Mario] Mandzukic,” Guardiola said after Robben’s winning goal in Saturday’s DFB-Pokal final, according to German publication TZ. “He is a world class player, with whom I am very satisfied. I love working with him.”
Meanwhile, the Manchester Evening News has become the latest publication to speculate that Van Gaal could seek to bring with him young Netherlands international Jordy Clasie. The 22-year-old all-round midfielder has impressed with Feyenoord and could be the man Van Gaal sees as capable of filling United’s void in the middle of the pitch.
There have also been strong reports that Manchester United will return to one of last summer’s transfer targets in Cesc Fabregas. Untied previously made several bids for the former Arsenal man, but never appeared to have any chance of luring him away from Barcelona. However, they are said to think things might be different this time around and a story in Marca suggests that might be right. The Spanish sports daily has reported that Barcelona have made Fabregas available this summer and believe they can recoup €40 million (£36.6m) for the 27-year-old.
A new rumor has also emerged, with the Daily Mirror claiming that United are vying with neighbors Manchester City for Arsenal right-back Bacary Sagna. The France international will be out of contract at the end of June and has so far been unable to agree a new deal at the Emirates. Speaking after Saturday’s FA Cup final win, the 31-year-old remained noncommittal about his future.
“Will it be my last game for Arsenal? I don't know,” he told The Sun. “Everyone knows I am out of contract and we have not found an agreement with Arsenal. Right now, there is a lot of emotion and I am just very happy for Arsene Wenger and for everyone at this club.”
The Daily Mail, however, has claimed that Sagna was due in Manchester on Monday for talks with City over a potential £150,000 a week deal.