Rumour. Counter rumour. Speculation frenzy!
It’s going to be a long summer for the short-suffering Manchester United who have gone a whole year without success and have stupendous amounts of money to spend.
Each day will bring a score of new suggestions about players potentially arriving at the club to restore its attacking virtuosity.
Depending on which source you read or believe the transfer kitty could be anywhere between £100-200 million of Her Majesty’s GBP.
You have to assume that a manager of Louis van Gaal’s stature would have fantastic connections within the game so Manchester United fans can afford to be cautiously optimistic about signings this summer.
But even that huge kitty won’t cover the entire list of top players that is being linked to Manchester United.
Realistically Manchester United cannot afford all of Mangala, Shaw, Kroos, Cavani, Fabregas, Reus and Robben.
So a few bargain buys might also be the order of the day; players such as the brilliant young Feyenoord midfielder Jordi Classie or his international teammate Kevin Strootman.
Luke must Shawly be a priority for Manchester United but whether they can prise Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala from the clutches of Manchester City and Chelsea is highly debatable.
Mats Hummels seems happy in Germany so another, cheaper, centre-back alternative may also be needed. Jan Vertonghen perhaps? Still costly and by no means easy to acquire. But perhaps marginally easier to secure than the much sought after Mangala. And perhaps there might even be some money left over for the brilliant young Real Sociedad centre back Inigo Martinez who can also provide cover at left-back?
As for the wings Robben, 30, would be a dream but Yehven Konoplyanka, 24, would possibly represent better value for money at around £15-£20 million. But, for us, Manchester United’s biggest weakness is currently on the flanks so let’s have both (Robben right, Konoplyanka left) and ensure that the superb Adnan Januzaj also gets lots of game time.
As for up top it would be lovely to see Edinson Cavani come in but Manchester United can easily soldier on with Rooney and RvP for now. And what of Juan Mata? His fate is anyone’s guess but we have always maintained that he would be best deployed at the top of a diamond in midfield.
So with all of our expertise we have put together a projection of Louis van Gaal’s starting XI as Manchester United approach a critical season in the Premier league.
De Gea – Shaw, Jones, Vertonghen, Da Silva – Konoplyanka, Mata, Kroos, Robben – Rooney, Van Persie
Subs: Lindegaard, Smalling, Inigo Martinez, Strootman, Januzaj, Welbeck, Kagawa