Now that Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw have been signed, where do United go from here? We still need at least 2 central midfielders, two wingers and a central defender. What follows is a brief roundup of supposed "targets", if the tabloids are to be believed, and an assessment of the likelihood of a move to Old Trafford.
Bruno Martins Indi - The Dutch defender has shown a few signs of quality in Van Gaal's 5-man defense at this summer's World Cup. But the British tabloids have been linking United with every Dutchman (and Bayern midfielder) under the sun in recent months, and there are better options in central defense out there for United than Martins Indi. New reports suggest the Feyenoord defender is on his way to F.C. Porto, a much more logical destination than Man U, as a replacement for the soon-to-depart Eliaquim Mangala. Overall Assessment: No Chance.
Eliaquim Mangala - Would be a coup for LvG to snatch the 23-year old away from Chelsea and Manchester City. He has the size, athleticism and aggression necessary for a Premier League center back, but LvG is rumored to have questions over the youngster's temperament, seemingly killing any chance of a move to Old Trafford. Even if LvG was interested in signing him, United wouldn't be the Frenchman's only suitors. Man City made Mangala their top priority to sign this offseason, but he reportedly doesn't fancy a move to the Ethiad. Chelsea also remain in the running for his services, but Mourinho seems far more intent on splashing Abramovic's cash on Real Madrid's Raphael Varane as a John Terry replacement. Even if the Blues don't sign Varane, they still have their center-back-of-the-future in 18-year old Kurt Zouma, purchased from Saint Etienne in the winter transfer window. Even so, United fans shouldn't hold their breath on this one, as he'll likely end up at Stamford Bridge. Overall Assessment: Unlikley.
Mats Hummels - Of all the Dortmund players linked to leave the club, Hummels seems the least likely to depart... at least this summer. The German center back has said he wants to be part of something special and winning trophies isn't his sole concern, seemingly quelling any potential move to the 20-time Premier League champions. But he has also said United is an attractive destination for himself in the future. Despite occasionally questionable decision-making out of the back, Hummels is one of the world's best prospects at his position. He'll stay put this transfer window, but look for United to make a huge push for the 25-year old next summer. Overall Assessment: Unlikely... for now.
Memphis Depay - Depay is a tricky winger with pace and a bit of a selfish streak, and would fill the wing role previously filled by the inconsistent disappearing artist known as Nani. The Dutchman has shown signs of true quality at PSV and with the Dutch national team, and would form a deadly young duo when paired with Januzaj on the wings. A move away from PSV makes sense for all the right reasons, and LvG seems to fancy the 20-year old as evidenced by his use of Depay as a super sub at the World Cup. All signs point to go for a move to Old Trafford, despite recent media speculation of a move to Real Madrid, who are well stocked with world-class wingers (Ronaldo, Bale, Di Maria). Overall Assessment: Highly Likely.
Yehven Konoplyanka - The trail has gone cold on the Ukranian after being heavily linked to United at the outset of the summer. Three Lions fans will remember his as the winger who literally ran circles around Kyle Walker and the English defense in a pair of World Cup qualification matches in the past year. He would definitely get his share of playing time at Old Trafford, given the confidence-eroding disease that has infected United's current crop of wingers (Nani, Young, Valencia). But such a lack of media activity surrounding his future makes it difficult to judge where he will eventually end up. Overall Assessment: Definitely possible, decent chance.
Arturo Vidal - Vidal has been reportedly unwilling to commit his future to Juventus, and LvG fanned the rumor flame by stating he tried to sign the Chilean from Bayer Leverkusen while at Bayern Munich. But the current edition of Vidal simply doesn't fit the mold of a typical Van Gaal signing: young, unproven and hungry for success. The 27-year old is a brilliantly talented central mid, but the media's latest odds-on Sexy Signing for United simply doesn't fit the bill of what Van Gaal looks for in a new signing. Overall Assessment: Unlikely.
Daley Blind - Ah, much more like it. The 24-year old Dutchman is a star for Ajax (Van Gaal's old club), stars for Van Gaal's Dutch national team, and excels in a position of great need for United: defensive midfielder. He is brilliant technically, has good vision from a deep-lying role and would be a solid addition to the midfield. A move to Old Trafford makes sense for Blind, who can also play left back in a pinch (would be especially useful after the eventual departure of Partrice Evra). Overall Assessment: Likely.
Nigel de Jong - Simply doesn't have the offensive capability to be effective in a deep-lying role at OT. Besides, United already has Darren Fletcher, who fills the same "destroyer" role as de Jong, is better (albeit marginally) offensively, and who we won't have to pay 10+ million pounds to acquire. Overall Assessment: No chance.
Alexis Sanchez - Barcelona would be mad to let him leave. End of story. Overall Assessment: He's going nowhere.
Antonio Valencia - Okay, so he doesn't really count as a new signing. The Ecuadorian winger has seemingly lost all sense of confidence in the attacking third, and hasn't come close to replicating his spectacular form from the 2011-12 season. However, he has just signed a new three-year contract with the Red Devils, a move that can only be justified under one circumstance: a position switch to right back. Valencia has played there numerous times in the past when called upon, and has acquitted himself well. Behind Rafael, United doesn't have a truly reliable first-team right back. Maybe LvG doesn't fancy Rafael, or maybe he's just looking to add depth at the position, but either way Valencia is a good and relatively cheap option to have at a position that has yet to be truly filled since the departure of Gary Neville. Overall Assessment: Solid business move.