Concrete Ron may not have enjoyed such a glistening career thus far, but he’s well acquainted with the Premier League and the Red Devils gaffer clearly knows how to get the best out of him.
Likewise, the Villans captain’s contract is set to expire in 2015, meaning that Paul Lambert’s side could be forced to sell on the cheap, and he excelled at Brazil 2014 as the central defender in a back three – a system van Gaal now wishes to implement at Old Trafford.
But Mirror Football also speculate that the United manager isn’t planning on stopping there. He wants to bring in a number of Oranje stars and starlets this summer, so we at Football FanCast have decided to take a look at FIVE of them.
It’s no secret that Louis van Gaal is tracking Netherlands vice-captain Kevin Strootman; he’s been continually linked with the Roma star since taking the Old Trafford hot seat, and admitted his interest during Manchester United’s pre-season tour:
— Telegraph News (@TelegraphNews) July 26, 2014
The 24 year-old has emerged as one of Serie A’s most dominant forces since joining Giallorossi from PSV last summer, claiming five goals and six assists in 25 league outings. This wonder-strike in the Coppa Italia also stood out:
But the Oranje international’s utility to the Red Devils in a box-to-box capacity is better represented by the impressive statistics below…
Often referred to as the Dutch Roy Keane and a firm favourite of van Gaal, a Manchester United switch appears to be the next logical step in Strootman’s career.
But sidelined with an injury that saw him miss the World Cup until at least November, it’s believed the Red Devils boss will wait until the January window to get his man:
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) July 16, 2014
Meanwhile, Roma, who are understandably reluctant to sell after only signing the tenacious midfielder last summer, have slapped Stootman with a £79million price-tag!
— The Sun – Football (@TheSunFootball) July 27, 2014
If Louis van Gaal is to implement 3-4-1-2 as Manchester United’s primary formation next season, the Red Devils need an experienced left wing-back to provide cover for Luke Shaw.
Rather fortuitously, LVG has just spent the World Cup making Ajax utility man Daley Blind look like an absolute world-beater.
Following a Player of the Year award-winning campaign with the Eredivisie Champions, the 24 year-old finished Brazil 2014 with the second-most assists of any player, as detailed below:
That includes this sensational delivery to Robin van Persie against Spain:
Not to mention this tidy strike in the play-off to help Oranje clinch third-place:
Here’s a look at the Netherlands international’s stats from the tournament. Impressive stuff:
Also capable of playing in defensive midfield or centre-back, Blind has a lot to offer the United roster. It was claimed yesterday evening that negotiations have started:
— Transfer Talk (@TransferTalk_) August 6, 2014
However, Ajax value the Oranje star at a whopping £17.4million, and Barcelona are also said to be interested:
Report: Daley Blind Becomes Newest FC Barcelona Target http://t.co/StuPM1ZPYF
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelonaGo) July 21, 2014
Hot off the press this morning, Louis van Gaal is reportedly eying a move for Netherlands international Nigel de Jong:
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) August 6, 2014
The 29 year-old, affectionately known as ‘The Lawn-mower’ for his bone-crunching tackles, was one of the better of a bad bunch at AC Milan last season and enjoyed a solid World Cup campaign with Oranje, as detailed below:
United’s midfield is in need of some added physical menace that can tidy up in front of the back four. De Jong’s Premier League experience is a major advantage too, having spent four seasons and won the English title with noisy neighbours Manchester City.
Here’s a look at what the veteran midfielder does best – turn football matches into outright wars:
And with just a year left on his San Siro contract, United believe they can sign de Jong on the cheap:
— IndyFootball (@IndyFootball) August 7, 2014
Manchester United’s desperate need for added quality out wide could thrust them into the hands of Eredivisie sensation Memphis Depay.
The 20 year-old PSV star destroyed the Dutch top flight last season, as seen below:
He also recorded the most successful dribbles and shots on goal of any player in the division…
The Ghana-born attacker had a solid World Cup too, claiming two goals and one assist for Oranje in a cameo role. That includes this swerving strike against Australia:
As well as this far-post finish against Chile:
Often dubbed ‘The Dutch CR7’ for their shared free-kick technique and playing style, there’s no doubt Depay has a bright future ahead of him. Here’s a look at some of his career highlights thus far:
If Louis van Gaal wants to bring the Dutch prodigy to Old Trafford however he’ll have to act quickly, with news that Tottenham are poised to make a formal offer:
Tottenham ready to offer £15million for PSV’s Dutch winger Memphis Depay http://t.co/B73cnIdLvd
— Daily Mail Football (@MAILfootball) August 6, 2014
Rather surprisingly, Louis van Gaal has passed on opportunities to sign Oranje World Cup stars Stefan de Vrij and Bruno Martins Indi, who have now joined Lazio and Porto respectively.
But with Manchester United desperately struggling for quality and depth at centre-back, he could still be tempted into making a bid for Eredivisie hotshot Joel Veltman.
The 22 year-old didn’t see much World Cup action and only broke into the Ajax first team last year. But his debut campaign was incredibly impressive, the vitals of which are detailed below:
That quality on the ball will be particularly important to van Gaal, who needs a ball-playing, front-footed defender somewhere in his back three. Here’s a video showing Veltman’s impressive all-round game (apologies for the Dutch commentary):
Once again however, Louis van Gaal would be wise to act quickly, with both Arsenal and Spurs reportedly after the Ajax youngster’s signature:
— Express Football (@ExpressFootball) July 5, 2014
Louis van Gaal is big on technical players and Manchester United’s engine room is certainly in need of some added quality. Thus, rumours linking the Red Devils with Oranje youngster Jordy Clasie have hardly been in short supply this summer:
Manchester United lead race to sign Feyenoord star: Manchester United have reignited interest in Jordy Clasie … http://t.co/W0ZihmiOH5
— Barclays League (@BarclaysLeague) June 6, 2014
The 23 year-old didn’t see too much World Cup action but comes with a preceding reputation from his three campaigns in the Feyenoord first team, netting eight goals in the process.
As well as being labelled ‘The Dutch Xavi’ for his like-minded passing game, Clasie is a real warrior, typified by his impressive tackling return last season:
And he’s already developed a proficient on-pitch understanding with Robin van Persie – just check out this assist during a Brazil 2014 warm-up fixture:
But Feyenoord claim the midfielder isn’t for sale:
— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) July 15, 2014
Whilst Southampton are also known to be keen suitors:
— English Football (@footieengland) August 6, 2014