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What Van Gaal’s Manchester Utd target list should look like

| 16.05.2014

While Manchester United fans will be generally pleased with the targets reported to appear on a list handed to the club by manager-elect Louis van Gaal, the deposed champions need to plug some very specific gaps if they are to challenge for the Premier League again in 2014/15 at 6/1 odds.

Van Gaal will leave his post as Dutch national team coach after Holland’s 28/1 tilt at the World Cup, with Ladbrokes going 8/15 that he can lead his compatriots through a Group B that also contains Spain, Chile and Australia.

Old Trafford is assumed to be the former Ajax, Barcelona, AZ and Bayern Munich manager’s next destination, and he will be seeking assurances that the transfer taps are turned on in the north west.

The 62-year-old’s rumoured preferred targets include Bundesliga trio Mats Hummels, the Borussia Dortmund centre-half, plus FC Bayern forwards Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben, who Van Gaal coached during his stint in Bavaria.

Hummels and Muller would likely be welcomed with open arms by United fans, as the former has looked as good a replacement for outgoing centre-halves Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic as they’re likely to get during his five seasons at BVB, while the latter finished World Cup 2010 as joint-top scorer at the tender age of 20.

However, after snubbing a move to Old Trafford in favour of Chelsea a decade ago, 30-year-old Robben may find the Theatre of Dreams faithful hostile to his presence at their club.

Besides, if Muller was added to United’s forward contingent they would be well represented in attack, with Adnan Januzaj, Shinji Kagawa, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck all expected to stay beyond the summer.

A holding-midfielder of note has been required by the Red Devils for some time and money set aside to be wasted on an often-troublesome player past his 30th birthday should be ploughed into a move for World Cup-bound Portugal 22-year-old William Carvalho, of Sporting Lisbon.

Recent reports have also indicated that Van Gaal approved mooted moves for FCB midfielder Toni Kroos and Southampton’s teenage England left-back Luke Shaw, which have been clogging up football gossip columns for some time.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune