Their form in question, especially that of midfielder Angel Di Maria, following a late 2-0 victory over possibly regulation-bound Sunderland Saturday, Manchester United and manager Louis van Gaal face some very difficult decisions before the end of the Premier League term and the start of the summer transfer session.
Still in fourth-place on the table, the Red Devils were nearly blanked by Sunderland if not for Wayne Rooney’s second-half brace, and the squad’s overall fitness was in question, with Di Maria perhaps getting the brunt of the criticism. The Argentine that cost United £59.7 million last summer, has scored once since October.
For now there’s little speculation surrounding Di Maria’s future at Old Trafford, but Van Gaal is looking for some scoring options outside of Rooney and Di Maria. And despite his 10 goals this term, Robin van Persie’s fitness has also been questioned of late.
The search for more attacking options wasn’t supposed to be an issue with Radamel Falcao added last summer, but the Colombian’s poor performances this term has left much to be desired.
Now Van Gaal and United are preparing for talks with Falcao’s agent Jorge Mendez with the 29-year-old’s possible permanent stay in England the main topic. The Daily Mirror reports Falcao wants to stay at Old Trafford, but United are unsure if he fits into their long term plans especially when it would cost them a reported £43 million.
Falcao does appear to have a backup plan in place, with The Sun reporting Valencia could swoop in with a £46 million bid.
But as Mirror points out, there don’t figure to be many top scoring forwards available this summer which could give United enough cause to retain Falcao permanently from Ligue 1’s Monaco.
United could go younger at the position, and try to outbid the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Bundesliga’s Borussia Dortmund for emerging Palermo striker Paulo Dybala.
According to Express, Dortmund are in line for a £30 million bid on the 21-year-old Argentine responsible for 12 goals and seven assists during Serie A play this term.
Rooney is still highly effective, and Van Persie figures to find his form later this term, but United will need to make a splash signing soon in order to infuse some youth at the top of the attack, and Dybala might be the right play.
Van Gaal also has plans to spruce up the backline, with United continuing their perhaps futile pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos, Daily Mail reports. Their attempts back in January rebuffed, United are still chasing the 20-year-old Brazilian as well as Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne.
The report indicates PSG may not let Marquinhos go even for as much as £40 million, which would equal the amount Manchester City paid for Eliaquim Mangala.