Manchester United hope to make at least two high-profile signings before the likely appointment of Louis van Gaal as manager, club sources have told ESPN FC.
United insisted on Saturday that no deal has been formalised with Van Gaal but -- although the appointment is not yet guaranteed -- there has already been significant contact with the 62-year-old Netherlands coach and certain terms have been discussed.
There have been talks over the make-up of Van Gaal’s backroom staff, and the subject of Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane -- linked with the position last week -- has indeed been broached, but current interim boss Ryan Giggs and former Netherlands international Patrick Kluivert are more likely to join his staff.
Kluivert, who is part of the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss' coaching staff for the Dutch national team, told talkSPORT on Saturday: “[Van Gaal] would be absolutely the first pick of any club, especially top teams everywhere in the world. He likes to let young players make their debut if ready for it.
“The most important thing at the moment is I'm personally enjoying working with him and with the Dutch national team. We're going to the World Cup and hope to do well. After that we'll see what happens and with me as well.”
He added he would follow Van Gaal anywhere in the world if asked to remain on his staff, saying: “It doesn't matter what club it will be if he asks me to join him, I would be absolutely honoured to be on his side.”
Regardless of their plans for the coaching team, United plan to press ahead with an extensive team rebuilding programme, some of which had been initiated by David Moyes. The Scot’s dismissal has delayed the anticipated signing of Southampton’s Luke Shaw, but sources state that deal is “very close” despite the Saints’ recent denial.
Old Trafford contacts have also said chief executive Ed Woodward is unhappy with perceptions the board did not properly back Moyes in the transfer market. ESPN FC was told that United missed out on “two major signings” due to the former boss’ prevarication.
United now plan to make a number of statement signings early on to prevent the chaos of last summer.
The interest in Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani and Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas has been well publicised, while sources say United may also consider going back in for Southampton’s Adam Lallana after attempting a move in January. The England international said on Saturday that he would make a decision over his future in the summer.
There is also interest in Everton full-back Seamus Coleman, and the English champions may hope to use Roberto Martinez’s admiration for United midfielder Tom Cleverley as leverage in a potential deal.