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Van Gaal can break world transfer record

Louis van Gaal and assistant manager Ryan Giggs of Manchester United watch their team train in LALouis Van Gaal has been told by Manchester United that he’s free to break the world transfer record this summer to bring his intended targets to Old Trafford this summer.

United kick off their Premier League season against Swansea in less than a month but Van Gaal has effectively been in charge only for a week and a lot is expected to happen between now and August 15th, as far as both arrivals and departures are concerned. Alex Buttner, Federico Macheda and Patrice Evra have joined Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand out of the club with Anderson, Bebe and another couple of players expected to follow suit.

On the arrivals front, meanwhile, United have secured the signings of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera for a combined fee of just over £55m but Van Gaal is thought to be keen to add another couple of players to ensure his first season at Old Trafford isn’t one of transition.

According to the Guardian, the United manager has been told he’s free to break the world transfer record, a statement which will undoubtedly get the fans excited but one which should be taken with more than a pinch of salt nonetheless, given United’s recent record in the transfer window up until this summer.

United have spent £27m on Shaw and £28.5 on Herrera so far but Ed Woodward is adamant the club could even break their transfer record, which currently is the £37.5m United forked out for Juan Mata in January.

Asked whether United could compete with the world’s best clubs from a financial point of view, Woodward said: “Of course it’s in our capabilities.

“You guys think about the money in a way that I don’t. I get pointed in the direction of a target that the manager wants and there is an assessment of what that might cost and I’ll negotiate hard to do the best I can on the trade.

“I stand by what I said – there is no budget. We are in a very strong financial position. We can make big signings. That doesn’t mean we go and throw money around. Louis is the manager. We have a lot of scouting output through the last 12 months, flagging up various things to us. Louis is the one that makes the ultimate decision around who he wants in the squad. I’m not going to force feed him with a player that he hasn’t selected.”

Woodward insisted that while Van Gaal has only been in charge for a week, the club aren’t wasting time and, behind the scenes, they’re actively pursuing new targets.

“We’re still looking at options. We’re not sitting on our hands waiting for Louis. He is very good at communicating clearly what he wants,” said Woodward.

United need at least another world class midfielder, a world class centre-back, a left-back to provide cover for Luke Shaw and a winger and a host of players have been linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer. Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels, Juan Cuadrado, Kevin Strootman, Daley Blind and Angel Di Maria are just some of the many players currently on United’s radar and Woodward insisted that’s an encouraging sign for the club, particularly after the new commercial deal signed with Adidas confirmed the club’s commercial status.

“What the deal shows and what we’re seeing with everything we’re doing from a commercial perspective, talking to agents, talking from a player’s perspective about wanting to come to us, we are the biggest club in the world, there’s no question about that,” said Woodward.

United’s record deal with Adidas might dwarf those of any other European clubs but the thought of United spending in the excess of £60-70m on the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez remains as probable as snow in July, but Woodward is confident United could break the world record if needs be.

Last summer’s pantomime villain also admitted that his first season at the club was far from ideal but he has a much better feeling about the Van Gaal era.

“It was a challenging year. In an ideal situation I would have worked with [Sir] Alex [Ferguson] for a year. I feel a lot more positivity in terms of this coming season. Part of that is simply because of what Louis did at the World Cup,” United’s executive vice-chairman said.

“We are a different sized club. You have not experienced what being a Manchester United manager is until you have been Manchester United manager.”