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LVG won’t panic buy in January

Louis van GaalLouis Van Gaal is not planning any January signings, unless one of his main targets becomes available, according to reports that will come to a surprise to many, who expected the Dutchman to splash money again this winter.

Having spent over £150m in the summer, Van Gaal was expected to use the January transfer window to shore up United’s shaky defence, but the Guardian today suggests that the Dutchman is unlikely to spend money in two months, choosing instead to focus on next summer.

The report adds that Van Gaal is thought to be keen to strengthen his team at the end of the season as he believes signing players is a more “realistic proposition in the close season rather than in the winter window, when many clubs remain in Champions League or Europa League competition.”

Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar has been linked with a January to move to United, but while the Dutchman was an essential figure in Holland’s defence at the World Cup and knows Van Gaal well, he’s not seen as the world class centre-back United need to shore up their back four, even though he could be available for a cut price fee as his contract with Villa expires at the end of the season.

Over the last couple of weeks, United have also been linked with Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, whose future at the Camp Nou is increasingly in doubt after the Spain international was left out of the squad in two consecutive games, with Luis Enrique preferring to deploy youngster Marc Bartra alongside Javier Mascherano, following Jeremy Mathieu’s injury.

Pique could be available for around £20m-£25m, but Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City are all thought to be monitoring the situation, while United continue to keep an eye on Kevin Strootman, one of Van Gaal’s main targets, who is set to make his return for Roma after having been sidelined since March with a serious knee injury.

Roma have repeatedly said that they do not intend to sell Strootman, with owner James Pallotta claiming last week that not even a £75m would be enough to lure the Dutchman away from the Eternal City, meaning that United could face an uphill battle if they tried to sign the former PSV man in January.

Furthermore, Van Gaal might want to give Strootman more time to prove he’s back to full fitness, particularly considering that with Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick returning to first team fold, the midfield, for the first time in a decade, isn’t United’s main cause for concern.