After scoring just two goals in their first three Premier League outings, it would appear that Manchester United are after some superstar quality to bolster their attack. United could only record a goalless result at home to Newcastle United on Saturday, leaving their only goals in the league this season as Kyle Walker’s own goal against Tottenham and Adnan Januzaj’s deflected strike to beat Aston Villa.
With Wayne Rooney, restored to the striking role this season, without a goal in 10 matches for the club, there has been strong speculation that United will look to add firepower to their squad before the close of the transfer window on Sept. 1. The club had expressed an interest in Pedro, only for the former Barcelona winger to join Chelsea last week. Van Gaal, though, insists he is happy with the players currently at his disposal.
"I have a lot of options," Van Gaal said after the draw with Newcastle, according to ESPN. "I have chosen [Javier] Chicharito [Hernández], because he is another type from Rooney, and Fellaini, who is another type, then I have Wilson and Januzaj, so I don’t think we need a striker."
The Dutch coach did, however, hint that Manchester United could be moved into action should a top-class forward become available.
"If he is the best striker in the world then, yes, we need him, but if he cannot contribute in our eyes, then we won't buy any striker. But when he does, we shall buy."
And it is some of the world’s best that United have been linked to in recent days. Notably, momentum has built around rumors suggesting that the Old Trafford club are pursuing a deal for Barcelona star Neymar. According to The Guardian, United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward was in Barcelona last week not to try and finalize a deal for Pedro, as had been reported, but to pursue a move for the Catalans’ Brazilian forward. While it is stated that United concede a deal will be more probable next summer, the report also claims that Neymar is open to a transfer to Old Trafford.
Were it to take place, it would be one of the most sensational and unexpected transfers of recent times. Neymar scored 39 goals for Barcelona last season as part of a brilliant forward trio alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. And the 23-year-old was only signed from Brazil’s Santos in an expensive and complex deal two years ago. The chances of him making a move, at least this summer, when Barcelona are still prevented from registering new players, are remote in the extreme.
And it has apparently not escaped United’s attentions that Neymar is thought to be in negotiations over a new contract at Barcelona. That he and his agent are using United’s interest as leverage would appear a far more likely scenario that him actually being in any way close to a transfer.
United look set to be disappointed, too, if they revive their interest in Gareth Bale. Having tried to bring him to Old Trafford before he completed a record transfer to Real Madrid, United were linked with the former Tottenham forward throughout what was a difficult season for him at the Bernabeu last campaign.
Sky Sports has reported that United remain keen on him, although they have not yet made a formal approach. Again, though, there is nothing to suggest that United will get their man. Neither Bale nor Real Madrid have given any indication that they are yet willing to part ways and, indeed, the 26-year-old has been earmarked for a more prominent role in the team this season. Unsurprisingly, ESPN reports that the Spanish giants will not consider any offers for Bale this summer.
Completing a trio of world stars linked to Manchester United of late is Thomas Müller. Talk of a possible 100 million euros (£74 million) offer from Old Trafford has been prevalent both in Germany and England, but Bayern Munich’s message over one of their prized homegrown assets has been consistent and far from encouraging for United. And, having already sold one of their iconic players to the Premier League club this summer in Bastian Schweinsteiger, they are unlikely to sell another. Sporting director Matthias Sammer has reiterated the message that neither Müller, nor anyone else, will be going anywhere.
"We will need every player," he said, reports the Daily Mirror. "I think that there is nothing more that could happen."