Louis van Gaal has again stated that his Manchester United squad lacks balance and that one of his solutions will be to re-enter the transfer market before the close of the summer window. Ahead of a meeting with Inter Milan in Washington D.C., Van Gaal dismissed the idea that his task had been made easier by succeeding the disappointing reign of David Moyes rather than the glory-filled one of Sir Alex Ferguson.
“When there is success you have a very good squad, and now I have to follow and the squad was broken I think,” he said, reports the Manchester Evening News. "When you look at the squad, there is quality. There is [Wayne] Rooney, [Robin] van Persie, [Javier] Hernández, [Danny] Welbeck, but you also see Juan Mata, [Marouane] Fellaini, and you see [Ander] Herrera. There are a lot of players that can play in the same position. It is not in balance. It’s more difficult to succeed in a difficult situation than in a fantastic situation.”
It is one of those players mentioned, Fellaini, who could be the next man out the door. There are strong news reports on Tuesday that the Belgian midfielder, who only joined United 11 months ago for a transfer fee of £27.5 million, has been the subject of an approach from Serie A side Napoli. Brought to Old Trafford by his former Everton boss Moyes, Fellaini has endured a torrid time and became a symbol for supporters of the club’s woes under the Scot last season. While United would in all probability be minded to take a significant loss on the player, Napoli, managed by former Liverpool coach Rafa Benitez, are thought to favor a loan move.
Another player who has struggled to replicate his previous influence since moving to Manchester United, Shinji Kagawa, is also being linked with a move away. Given that Van Gaal’s 3-4-1-2 formation only allows for one attacking midfielder, the Japanese playmaker would appear a logical choice to make way, despite the sense that he was never truly given the opportunity to flourish in Manchester. It has again been suggested that Kagawa could return to his former club Borussia Dortmund. The Bundesliga side’s manager Jürgen Klopp has made no secret of the fact that he remains a fan of Kagawa and would welcome the chance to bring him back.
If that were to come to fruition, it is likely that Manchester United would then inquire about reported target Marco Reus. While there is little prospect of the attacking midfielder moving this summer, his future has been thrown into further doubt. A report in German tabloid Bild states that he has turned down a new contract, which would remove a clause in his current deal that allows him to leave for a fee of €35 (£27.7m) million in the summer of 2015. Bayern Munich and Barcelona are also thought to be monitoring the situation, with Dortmund understandably desperate to avoid a similar situation to that which saw Mario Götze leave for Bayern last year.
Van Gaal has made it known that, while he wants to work with and mold his current squad, he will also consider outside solutions to better fit his formation. It means that new arrivals to add to Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera are all but a certainty before the transfer window deadline.
“We have to see if the selection is in balance and how we can improve it,” he said, according to BBC Sport. “Not only by training but also transfers.”
Van Gaal has stressed the importance of the wing-backs in his system and he could well be targeting a man seemingly perfect to fulfill that role on the right, Juan Cuadrado. The speedy Colombian played in every position down the right side for Fiorentina last season, often at wing-back, before going onto enjoy a fine World Cup operating as a winger.
While strongly linked with Barcelona this summer, Catalonia-based sports publication Mundo Deportivo has now stated that Manchester United have become a strong competitor for Cuadrado’s services. Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade has said that it would be difficult to refuse an offer of €50 million (£40m) for the 26-year-old.
The fee will be even higher should Manchester United secure the signing of the man with whom they have been most frequently linked this summer, Arturo Vidal. The latest report about United’s pursuit comes from Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport, which states that the Premier League side are prepared to offer €60 million (£47.5m) to try and get a transfer over the line. The piece does, though, state that the Chile midfielder will be happy to remain with the Italian champions as long as they match the contract terms being offered by United.