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Manchester United have ruled out stop-gap January signings - sources

Manchester United have made the decision to only pursue prime targets in this transfer window, sources have told ESPN FC, leaving open the distinct possibility that they will not do any more business in January.

United had already accepted they would have to wait until the summer to try to sign Netherlands midfielder Kevin Strootman given Roma's unwillingness to sell this month, while the player has also suffered a new knee injury.

The club had therefore switched focus to the purchase of a centre-back and right-back, but they appear to be facing similar frustration on the defensive front.

ESPN FC has been told that, despite the increasing pressure to qualify for next season's Champions League, the hierarchy at Old Trafford have informed manager Louis van Gaal that, if they cannot get the club's main targets immediately, they now intend to wait until the summer rather than going for stop-gaps.

Previously, all indications were that United may be willing to go for short- or medium-term solutions, particularly in central defence, with potential signings like Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar, but that has changed in the last week.

It is unclear whether the decision was financial or down to the risk of investing in specific individuals, but the consequence is United are only likely to move if they can force transfers for top targets.

Club sources state that they initially drew up a list of 12 potential signings for this window, with those players divided into "top priority" and "secondary priority." The top targets are by now well known, and include the likes of Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels -- who has played down talk of a move -- and Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne.

While Clyne may yet be possible given he is already expected to leave St Mary's in the summer, the purchase of Hummels or any other centre-back of his standing now appears unlikely.

United have already brought in goalkeeper Victor Valdes this month.

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