Man Utd: Strootman in, Rafael and Smalling on way out
Louis van Gaal plans another spending spree after turning against defenders including £31m Luke Shaw
With Manchester United making as many gaffes as a Tesco accountant, Louis van Gaal is "set to meet" executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward this week to discuss the club’s January transfer plans. Claiming an exclusive, Goal.com reports that Van Gaal wants to spend "up to £50m this winter" and one of the players at the top of his Christmas wishlist is Kevin Strootman, the Holland and Roma midfielder who was linked with a move to Old Trafford last month.
Aware that he’s already spent £150m on players who so far have won just one out of six competitive matches this season, the Dutch gaffer is planning to offload some players in the New Year to fund his spree. Goal.com says that the position of Brazilian Rafael "is under threat", as is that of defender Chris Smalling. The Daily Mail gleefully reports rumours that van Gaal "does not rate Luke Shaw", the 19-year-old left-back who became the world's most expensive teenager when he was signed from Southampton for £31m in the summer.
Goal.com says that Van Gaal will have to win over Woodward who apparently has informed investors that "big spending is not on the cards" in the new year for fear the club might exceed Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations. On the other hand, Woodward is acutely aware that United desperately need to finish in the top four of the Premier League in order to qualify for next season’s Champions League, something they’ve missed out on this season.
In other news the Daily Express reports that Arsenal’s £9.5m move for Barcelona striker Munir El Haddadi is no longer so clear-cut after Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich joined the race for the Spanish star’s signature. Though the young frontman has been catching the eye at the Camp Nou this season with Luis Suarez soon to return to action it’s likely his game time will be limited. As a result the Express claims that Arsenal plan to activate his release clause in January with manager Arsene Wenger "confident of winning the race" to sign El Haddadi with a guarantee of regular action as well as a lucrative long-term deal.
Finally Caughtoffside reports that goalkeeper Iker Casillas will leave Real Madrid next summer prompting fresh bout of speculation that Arsenal will make a move for the 33-year-old. The Real captain was linked to the Emirates in the summer and according to Spanish source Cuatro, he is "set to leave" the Spanish giants when his contract expires in June.