Many were expecting Louis van Gaal to pursue Ron Vlaar in the summer transfer window. After a successful World Cup together in the Dutch set-up, Vlaar seemed a logical option for United. Vlaar would give an inexperienced backline some much-needed leadership and experience. With the centre-half’s contract up at the end of the season, Aston Villa may have to act in the January transfer window. Van Gaal may end up leaving defensive issues until the summer and go for bigger names like Mats Hummels, however, if Vlaar does become available, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him at Old Trafford come January. With Tom Cleverley currently at Aston Villa on loan and also out-of-contract at the end of the season, it could be that both clubs come to an agreement that involves a swap deal involving Cleverley and Vlaar.
What a start to the season it has been for Nathaniel Clyne. There were periods of last season that he was looking on from the side lines, being kept out of the side by Callum Chambers. Now a regular in Ronald Koeman’s side, Clyne has thrived on playing regular football. Due to such consistently positive performances, Roy Hodgson took notice and selected him for the national team. With 18 months left on his Southampton contract, a host of top clubs will be weighing up Clyne. Sir Alex Ferguson was reportedly a huge admirer of Clyne when he was at Crystal Palace. With question marks being raised over Rafael’s fitness and consistency, Clyne could well be seen as a possibility to replace the Brazilian. Southampton will be reluctant to sell one of their star performers, but as shown in the summer, every player has their price.
There are constant question marks over Sami Khedira’s future at Real Madrid since Toni Kroos was signed in the summer. Khedira has had to play second fiddle to the likes of Lukas Modric and Kroos. With his contract set to run out at the end of the season, Madrid may have to act in January in order to cut their losses. Khedira is the type of player that United have been crying out for over a long period of time, especially his ability to break up oppositions’ attacks and screen the back four. However, it is likely that Madrid will let the Khedira saga rumble on with Modric ruled out for three months. A host of clubs will be after Khedira if he decides to leave, and United will be one of them.
It is clear to see the mutual admiration that Kevin Strootman and Van Gaal have for each other. The 24-year-old midfielder was going to be a pinnacle figure in Van Gaal’s World Cup side. Unfortunately for Strootman (and the Dutch), he picked up a cruciate knee ligament injury which consequently ruled him out of the World Cup and a large chunk of the current season. Now back in action at Roma and slowly getting back to full fitness, many experts feel that Van Gaal will do all he can to reunite with his former captain. Roma have been ruthless and indicated that Strootman is not for sale, however there is no sign of this story going away and it would be no shock to anyone if Strootman does end up at Old Trafford at some stage in the foreseeable future.
Looking at the current United side, there are very few players that can inject pace into the play. Apart from the likes of Wayne Rooney and Angel di Maria, Van Gaal’s side play can be rather one-paced and lacking tempo. Part of United’s DNA and history has been built on quick counter-attacks and running teams into the ground. Dutch youngster Memphis Depay is a player that Van Gaal is well aware of, currently applying his trade with PSV. Depay’s reputation is continuing to blossom and he could well be a logical option for Van Gaal. However Depay will not come cheap and a host of top clubs across Europe will be analysing Depay’s progress.
Read more from Tom and Dan on their blog.
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