Louis van Gaal is keen for the club to get their business done early, with the Dortmund midfielder set to join next and the Real Madrid goalkeeper also a potential arrival
By Duncan Castles Follow on Twitter
Manchester United have agreed terms on a move to bring Ilkay Gundogan to the club and have identified Keylor Navas as a potential replacement for David de Gea as the club accelerate plans for another aggressive close-season rebuild under Louis van Gaal.
Van Gaal has requested reinforcements in at least five positions and is being backed with an open chequebook as United attempt to ensure against the possibility of missing out on the Champions League for a second successive season.
Despite last summer’s unprecedented spend of more than €200 million on transfer fees alone, United missed their target of achieving automatic qualification for Europe’s premier club competition and now face a perilous home-and-away playoff tie in August.
The Dutch coach would prefer his entire squad to be in place well before those matches, and the club has moved early to put transfers in place. A fee was agreed with PSV for Memphis Depay at the beginning of this month, while Gundogan announced a decision not to renew his contract with Borussia Dortmund following interest from United and Barcelona.
The Premier League club has continued an attempt to try to convince Paul Pogba to return to Old Trafford, and extensive work has been put in to bring Gareth Bale back to England on a deal that is expected to require a global-record transfer fee.
It remains likely that Juventus midfielder Pogba will choose to move elsewhere having left United in 2012, with Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain all interested, while Bale’s future depends on Real Madrid president Florentino Perez sanctioning a sale.
United are also in the market for a new right-back, central defender and centre-forward. The club’s preferred choice of full-back, Brazil international Danilo, elected to join Madrid, leading United to discuss terms with Nathaniel Clyne and Dani Alves. Though the latter is set to announce his decision to leave Barcelona and remains keen on testing himself in the Premier League, as things stand friends expect him to take up an offer elsewhere in Europe.
Van Gaal asked United to try to sign Navas ahead of his debut campaign at Old Trafford but lost the goalkeeper to Madrid in a €10m transfer. The Dutchman remains an admirer of the Costa Rican, who held his Netherlands side goalless for 120 minutes of their World Cup quarter-final in July and has included him on a list of potential summer recruits.
While Navas has performed well in his limited first-team opportunities for Madrid, the Spanish club intend to sign De Gea and would sacrifice Navas to help secure him.
Named United’s Players’ Player of the Year for a second consecutive season last week, De Gea has been offered a lucrative contract extension yet has been unsettled by aspects of Van Gaal’s management, including the belated offer of a new deal.