Man Utd plan midfield overhaul across the next two windows

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Louis van Gaal has already rung the changes since replacing David Moyes as Manchester United boss, overseeing a huge transfer spend in his first summer in the hot-seat and lining up a second splurge after the current campaign has ended.

Angel Di Maria, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Radamel Falcao and Daley Blind all arrived at Old Trafford during the sunnier months under the Dutchman and rumours are abound that yet more cavalry will gallop up to the Theatre of Dreams’ gates over the course of the next two transfer windows.

Top of the list, according to reports, is Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale, who cost Los Blancos £86m to buy from Tottenham and is currently in his second season in Spain.

Supposedly United’s owners, the Glazers, wish to take the club down the Madrid-inspired Galacticos route with their transfer policy and are willing to break the Red Devils’ transfer fee record to land the Welsh winger.

While such an outlay is more likely to come after the end of the season, in which United are 20/1 to win the title, Van Gaal could set about his midfield redesign as soon as this January, with Benfica pair Enzo Perez and Nicolas Gaitan joining Roma’s Kevin Stootman on the Dutchman’s winter wishlist.

According to the Daily Star, the former Holland boss will fork out around £80m for the trio, with deals for the Portuguese-based string pullers close to completion for a combined £51m.

Strootman is still recovering from a knee injury that has so far ruled him out of action this term, but Van Gaal is a keen admirer having picked the £30m-rated midfielder frequently during his time in charge of the Dutch national side.

Should all four men arrive as United hope, it would leave many of the current crop of middle-band occupiers at the club fighting for their future, including the likes of Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick, who have enjoyed positive runs in the team of late.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.