Louis van Gaal is ready to follow up the signing of Memphis Depay with more new acquisitions this summer if he thinks his Manchester United squad is not up to scratch.
United this week beat Paris St Germain to the £25 million (€34m) signing of PSV Eindhoven forward Depay, who will pen a four-year contract at Old Trafford once he has passed a medical.
The 21-year-old forward is the eighth signing of Van Gaal’s reign and the United boss has been told he has a sizeable transfer kitty to spend this summer.
The Dutchman will evaluate every player at the end of his maiden season and will not hesitate in bringing more players in if he deems it necessary.
“Manchester United shall always react when it is necessary in our eyes,” the United boss said, when asked about summer targets.
The Dutchman is interested in signing Gareth Bale from Real Madrid — although sources close to the Welshman insist he is going nowhere.
Nathaniel Clyne and Mats Hummels are also on Van Gaal’s radar, but the next target for the Dutchman appears to be a central midfielder.
Van Gaal is short of options there after experienced and influential campaigner Michael Carrick, who turns 34 in the summer, was ruled out for the rest of the season with a calf problem. ‘’He shall not play any more this season,’’ said Van Gaal, who is known to admire Roma’s Kevin Strootman and Ilkay Gundogan of Borussia Dortmund.
‘’We have only one right-sided holding midfielder. Our selection is not balanced, and I want to restore that in the next transfer period.
‘’The life is not ending at 34, but for a professional football player, it’s close by. That’s why I have to handle again in that position.’’
Should Depay maintain his excellent form — he has scored 21 goals in 28 games for PSV this year — Van Gaal will have gone some way to solving the lack of firepower that has led to three straight defeats.
If United lose against Crystal Palace on Saturday, it will be the first time that they have lost four league games in a row since 1979.
Van Gaal thinks signing Depay may have distracted his squad in the build-up to the game at Selhurst Park, but the United boss insists he was left with no alternative after PSG entered the bidding for his compatriot’s signature.
‘’I have been forced to sign him,’’ Van Gaal said. ‘’I didn’t want to sign him before the end of the season. We have to focus on our games.
‘’When you sign a player, you disturb the focus of your present group of players. The coming matches are very important for Manchester United and for all of the players. But because of the market, I must handle it (now) — because otherwise he would have signed for PSG.’’
In fact, for some members of the United squad, the pressure of knowing Depay is on his way to Old Trafford could prove too much.
When asked whether competition was good for his squad, Van Gaal said: “For some players it’s not like that — it’s too much pressure and they cannot cope sometimes.
“It’s not always very good.”
Van Gaal said he had given his players an extra day off this week in order to help them “clean their heads and recover the body,” after the 1-0 home defeat to West Brom.
Fifth-placed Liverpool can reduce the gap to one point if they beat Chelsea and United lose, but Van Gaal is not overly concerned about losing his grip on fourth place, given that just three matches of the season remain.
“I think Liverpool has to worry because they have to regain points, not us. It is in our own hands,” he said.
As well as Carrick, United are missing a number of players because of a virus.
“Some players are missing. I cannot say how many,” said Van Gaal, who has also picked up the illness himself. “I don’t play so for me it’s not influencing the game because I can think and take but the players have to be very fit to play so that’s a concern,” he added.
Luke Shaw, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Marcos Rojo are available after recovering from their respective injuries.