Senior sources at United were insistent last week the Red Devils were not after a new front man, but after United’s 1-0 win over Club America at the weekend Van Gaal hinted a “ surprise” signing might be in store.
And the United boss has now suggested a forward could be coming to Old Trafford. “He is in the process,” Van Gaal said bluntly when asked about his “surprise” signing.
When asked whether United where close to signing the striker in question, Van Gaal said: “No. It is not a striker that the media has written, but you have to wait and see.
“The transfer period is open until September 1. You have to wait.” United have been linked with a number of forwards in the last few weeks, including Paris St Germain’s Edinson Cavani, Tottenham’ Harry Kane and Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.
A German newspaper claimed United had bid £70 million (€100m) for Lewandowski’s team-mate Thomas Muller on Monday, but sources at Old Trafford denied an offer had been tabled.
However, Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm admits he cannot guarantee that Muller will not follow Bastian Schweinsteiger to Old Trafford.
“It’s not my decision,” Lahm, who ruled out a move for himself, said. “Things can happen very quickly in football.” Meanwhile, when asked whether United were any closer to signing Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, who they want to bring in as part of a swap deal for David de Gea, Van Gaal said: “I cannot talk about these rumours. I have said already in a lot of press conferences, it is a process. Maybe Mr Ramos is in the process. You never know.” While United may sign another striker, Wayne Rooney has been told he will play up front, rather than in midfield this season.
“I expect from him the same as I expected from (Robin) Van Persie or (Radamel) Falcao. The principles are still the same,” Van Gaal said.
This time last year Van Gaal was weighing up whether to appoint Rooney or Van Persie as captain. He clearly thinks he made the right choice.
“I could not expect more,” Van Gaal said when asked about Rooney’s first year as captain.
“I think he is a great captain. Better than I had expected. He is fully accepted by the players.
“I can choose, but the players decide. That is my philosophy. The players have to accept the captain. The first captain is Wayne Rooney.” Van Gaal said he had no fears about Rooney getting injured in Duncan Ferguson’s testimonial, which takes place six days before United’s season-opener against Tottenham.
“He can also fall off the stairs. That is my answer,” Van Gaal said.