Pitchside

Eurosport Roundtable: Who should Louis van Gaal sign first?

Pitchside

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Right. Manchester United have officially secured their new manager. That’s half the problem at Old Trafford solved.

Next up is reviving the squad which was sagging during Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge, and was nowhere near capable of finding David Moyes any longevity in the United job.

That’s the latest Eurosport Roundtable question posed to our writing staff, though before you see who they think should be first on Louis van Gaal’s shopping list once the World Cup ends, check out our video editor Pete Burton’s five tips for United reinforcements:

Did the team concur with any of these five? Are there any wild card choices? Who got the most picks?

Check out our thoughts below and then feel free to add your own entries via the comments section at the foot of the article…

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Tom Adams (Twitter: @tomEurosport):

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Toni Kroos – There is probably only a tiny percentage of this deal coming off, but Kroos was linked with United long before his former boss at Bayern, and the man who brought him into the first team, was appointed at Carrington and his contract talks remain at an impasse. United have consistently failed to adequately strengthen their midfield in recent seasons so what better signing than arguably the most effective and versatile midfielder currently operating in football today? Kroos has it all. His short passing is frighteningly good and even if this was his only attribute he’d be a huge improvement on Michael Carrick. But as well as controlling games, Kroos can decide them too. He can perform as a No. 10 and, though he hasn’t shown it for Bayern under Guardiola this season after being used in a deep role, packs a brilliant shot. He would transform a stale midfield in a stroke.

Dan Quarrell (Twitter: @Dan_Eurosport):

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Kevin Strootman - “Is Strootman on it [my wish list]? A question for you, a fact for me” – that was how Louis van Gaal responded to speculation linking Manchester United with a move for the Roma midfielder. He may have suffered cruciate ligament damage this season, but Van Gaal will have little doubt just how effective he can be in dominating the midfield. The 24-year-old helped Van Gaal’s team qualify for the World Cup and has held a crucial role for club and country as a box-to-box threat before injury cut his season short. He was linked with United before joining Roma last summer, where he has been a revelation for the Italian club, but the new United manager knows that he must prioritise signing a player of his calibre and personality. A bid in excess of £25m would likely be enough to take Strootman to Old Trafford and it would represent a deal that is long overdue for United in that area of the field.

Sean Fay (Twitter: @Sean_Fay):

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Thomas Mueller - A lack of goals from midfield was a problem for Manchester United last season but I think the signing of Mueller could fix that up straight away. There probably isn’t a player in Europe with a better positional sense than the German. His intelligence off the ball always seems to see him pop in the right place at the right time. In the chaotic Premier League, this quality is even more valuable - Frank Lampard is a prime English example of somebody who has benefited from it over the years. Mueller’s style of play is not as ascetically pleasing as some of his other Bayern team-mates, but he is a flexible player who could be slotted into a number of different positions for United. Van Gaal played him as a right midfielder at Bayern and the two have a mutual respect for each other. Yaya Toure has just become only the second midfielder after Lampard to score 20 goals in a Premier League season – Mueller has the tools to be the third.

Reda Maher (Twitter: @Reda_Eurosport):

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Luke Shaw - There are many positions where United could improve - such as at centre half, where they lose two senior players this summer - but with Patrice Evra on his way and Alex Buttner not even close to par, a starting left-back is a priority. At least in central defence there are Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans, although that area needs strengthening too, as does central midfield. Shaw, however, is an essential, if Van Gaal's massive balls can fend off Chelsea.

Toby Keel (We asked him for his Twitter, he performed a peculiar dance):

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Yaya Toure - Manchester City sent a fantastically audacious message to Manchester United when they signed Carlos Tevez five years ago – and the underlying taunt of "we're coming to get you" has been proven to be right on the money. So what better way for United to gain revenge than by poaching arguably the most important player in City's two title-winning campaigns? What better way for Toure to show just how unhappy he's been with City's treatment of him? And how better to transform United's miserably underperforming midfield? Assuming that his contract allows for a forced sale – and his agent's behaviour in the last week or so suggests that it is – then Toure would be on the pitch exactly what Louis Van Gaal is off it: a short-term fix, but as close to a guarantee of success as can possibly be imagined.

Liam Happe (Twitter: @liamhappe):

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Nigel de Jong – “What on earth is that buffoon Happe thinking, suggesting an ex-Man City player and someone who in 2014 is far from a ‘huge’ signing?” Well, the answer is simple. David Moyes might be gone, but Ed Woodward isn’t. Thus, United could yet repeat some of last season’s mistakes, particularly in the transfer market. Van Gaal in his infinite experience probably realises that ‘big’ signings threaten to disappoint more than they promise to live up to the ticker-tape parade, and United’s current insipid midfield would benefit greatly from a no-nonsense enforcer who knows LVG, knows the Premier League, can go box-to-box and whose performances seldom dropped last season while dealing with the trouble at another fallen giant club, AC Milan. Plus, his notorious mean streak on the pitch could be just what United need to bring the fear factor back to Old Trafford. A Dutch Roy Keane for the Dutch Alex Ferguson.

Desmond Kane (Twitter could not possibly handle Desmond Kane):

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Luke Shaw - The Southampton left-back is valued at £27 million, but United could get years and years of glorious service from the outstanding Shaw. At the age of 18, he also fits nicely into the sort of player Van Gaal could work to improve. He already possesses the raw tools for the job, but a coach like Van Gaal would help him achieve the levels of consistency necessary to perform for a club like United. One for the future, but also one for the moment. Landing Shaw would be a major sign of United's pursuit of redemption.

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ROUNDTABLE VERDICT:

Toni Kroos - 1 vote

Kevin Strootman - 1 vote

Thomas Mueller - 1 vote

Yaya Toure - 1 vote

Nigel de Jong - 1 vote

Luke Shaw - 2 votes

ROUNDTABLE SUMMARY:

Southampton left-back Luke Shaw wins out on this one, being the only name put forward by more than one writer as well as making our video top 5. It must be noted, however, that the majority of writers picked midfielders, despite differing on exact targets. With midfield also heavily focused upon in the video, there seems to be little argument that United need to do something about that area of the pitch.

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