Van Gaal’s Man Utd masterplan could mean second St Mary’s raid

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Louis van Gaal’s bold claims about turning Manchester United into ‘the best team in the world’ make defensive recruitments essential sooner rather than later.

Borussia Dortmund centre-half Mats Hummels remains high on United’s priority list, though Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne is also believed to have greatly impressed Van Gaal since coming to English football.

The Saints right-back was outstanding when the two clubs met back in December as he has been all season, culminating in Clyne breaking into the England team.

United and Southampton meet again in Sunday’s 16:00 kick-off, where the hosts are firm 17/20 favourites to complete a Premier League double despite a fortuitous victory at St Mary’s.

Whatever the outcome of the match, Clyne’s performance will be carefully monitored by Van Gaal and his coaching staff at Old Trafford, ahead of a possible move for his services.

The 23-year-old full-back has 18 months left on his current deal with Saints, who are also trying to convince the former Crystal Palace trainee to extend his stay.

Van Gaal already has Clyne’s former teammate Luke Shaw playing on the left side of defence, adding attraction to a reunion of the two players in Manchester.

Club sources have indicated that the two-time Holland head coach does not see Brazilian right-back Rafael as a long-term solution to playing on the right-side of his defence.

Meanwhile, having signed goalkeeper Victor Valdes on a free transfer, speculation has increased surrounding Real Madrid’s interest in current number one David De Gea.

United’s player of the season last year has arguably been their top performer again this term.

Naturally, Van Gaal will be desperate to keep hold of the Spaniard, who could be the subject of an audacious £30m bid by the Spanish giants if rumours are to be believed.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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