Friday 21 October 2016

Van Gaal ready to go Dutch with bid for Memphis Depay

United boss turns his attentions to winger amid Hummels snub

Mats Hummels

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal will switch his focus from defence to attack by stepping up his interest in PSV Eindhoven winger Memphis Depay having received a big blow in his pursuit of Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels.

Van Gaal was in attendance at Holland's 2-0 win over Spain on Tuesday night where Depay played 84 minutes of the friendly victory over the reigning European champions.

Van Gaal, who recruited six players and off-loaded 14 following his appointment as United manager last summer, is planning to add at least four new signings to his squad at the end of this season, with the 21-year-old Depay on his shortlist.

Depay has emerged as a potential target, however, after scoring 17 goals for the Eredivisie leaders following his return from the World Cup finals last summer. Phillip Cocu, the PSV coach, has compared Depay to Bayern Munich's Dutch winger Arjen -Robben, and admitted last month that his club were resigned to losing the £ 20million-rated player at the end of the season.

"At some point, it becomes clear that he (Depay) is ready for the next step," Cocu said. "And yes, I think he's going to leave PSV after this season."

Depay, who is also being watched by Paris St-Germain, was handed his international debut, aged 19, against Turkey in October 2013 by Van Gaal, who believes that the player can operate on both flanks and as a secondary striker.

While German World Cup winner Hummels may take some persuading to join United after tweeting his annoyance at claims that he had promised to join the Old Trafford outfit in the summer, Real Madrid's Portuguese defender Fabio Coentrao, it seems, would jump at the chance of signing for Van Gaal.

Following Portugal's Euro 2016 qualifying win over Serbia on Sunday, in which Coentrao scored, the 27-year-old claimed that Real manager Carlo Ancelotti lacked "trust" in him, adding about United: "I have already shown an interest in playing there. It is one of the best clubs in the world, one I admire a lot. It would be an honour to play there."

While United are not planning to sell pounds £59.7million British record-signing Angel di Maria, despite the Argentine's battle for form at Old Trafford, the likely departure of the on-loan Radamel Falcao back to his parent club, Monaco, has ensured that Van Gaal will look to bolster his attacking options in the summer.

Depay's youth, versatility and goal return, albeit in the Dutch league, has led to his climbing United's target list and the club will monitor him against Spain - a game which is also expected to feature the Old Trafford pair Daley Blind and David de Gea.

Van Gaal, meanwhile, is unlikely to hand Hernandez a United reprieve, even if the 26-year-old returns to the club this summer following his loan move to Real, during which he has started just one league game.

He said: "My situation is frustrating," Hernandez said. "I participate, give my all in training, but as for playing in matches, the opportunities are minimal. I belong to a team, but am not part of the important bit, the actual games."

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