Manchester United could target Arjen Robben in elite summer spend

Posted Friday, December 05, 2014 by

· New strategy allows for world record transfer bid
· Mats Hummels and Dani Alves also on wish list
· Ander Herrera inspires win over Stoke

Manchester United could target Arjen Robben in elite summer spend
Louis van Gaal spent £150m last summer but will have the green light for another significant outlay next year.

Manchester United are planning another summer transfer splurge after this year's £150m spend, with Real Madrid being viewed as the model for a strategy to recruit an elite player for every position in Louis van Gaal's squad.

The manager has been told he does not have to work to a particular budget as the club is prepared to sanction a world record transfer bid in line with the policy of last summer, according to senior figures.

Van Gaal wants to add a midfielder, a right-back, one or two central defenders, a wide player and potentially a striker. The Dutchman is targeting Roma's Kevin Strootman, who would cost around £30m, Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels who may be priced up to £35m, Atlético Madrid's Diego Godín - in the region of £25m - Barcelona's Dani Alves, for around £15m, and may potentially move for Arjen Robben, with the Bayern Munich winger costing no less than £40m. If United decide against taking Radamel Falcao permanently from Monaco - it would cost £43.5m to take up the club's option - then Van Gaal would also be in the market for a striker.

The potential outlay could take United's total spend in two years past £350m after the £27.5m paid for Marouane Fellaini and the £37.1m deal for Juan Mata in last January's window. The manager is also to offload a number of players when embarking on a second close season of rebuilding that is viewed as a vital window to ensure United are able to seriously challenge again for the title and in Europe. Last summer 11 players left while nine more went out on loan and six were recruited, making for an overall turnover of 26.

Those who are vulnerable this year include a host of players currently out on loan, such as Nani, Tom Cleverley, Javier Hernández, Nick Powell, Reece James and Michael Keane, plus the reserve goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard. The latter's future is in the balance as Spain international Victor Valdés is training at United as he continues rehabilitation from a serious knee injury. The club are yet to decide whether to sign Valdés when he returns to fitness though his relationship with Van Gaal, who managed him previously at Barcelona, means the manager is particularly familiar with his ability.

Darren Fletcher and Anderson have deals that finish at the close of the campaign, with the latter almost certain to depart. There are no plans to pay the Brazilian's contract up and for him to leave in January.

David de Gea, the established No1, is yet to renew terms that expire in summer 2015 although the club are relaxed about the Spaniard committing his long-term future despite reported interest from Real Madrid. Michael Carrick's terms expire at the end of the season but United have a one-way option to extend his stay and it would be a surprise if this was not taken up by the club.

The United executive are understood to be encouraged by the team's progress this term, although they accept results might have been better. As Van Gaal has guided the team to fourth place in the Premier League before the start of the busy festive programme despite having to implement new ideas following the difficulties of a sizeable overhaul and an unprecedented run of injuries, the hierarchy view the future with optimism.

The club had expected Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling to have their best seasons of availability yet, so there is surprise that all have suffered from injuries. With United not playing in Europe this season the forecast had been based on these players having the optimum recovery time between matches. With Van Gaal understood to rate Evans the pick of the trio, that may mean the futures of Jones and Smalling are in the balance.The lack of European football means United may take a mid-season break and while there are no current plans to do so it is understood Van Gaal would be able to order warm weather training at the last minute due to the ease of arranging a trip.

Prospective destinations would include Dubai, Doha and Qatar, with the timing likely to be some time in January. If the club were to play a friendly on the trip they would require permission from the governing body.



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