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United to step up transfer efforts after horror start

ESPN staff
August 18, 2014 « Federer claims sixth Cincinnati crown | Day 6: Maria Ho eliminated, 68 left »
Ancelotti: Di Maria's future uncertain

Manchester United are preparing to step up their transfer business following their horror start to Premier League life under new manager Louis van Gaal.

United could spend up to £100 million in their pursuit of Real Madrid winger and long-time target Angel Di Maria according to the Daily Mail, while a deal for Sporting Lisbon left-back Marcus Rojo is thought to be close.

Over to you, Ed Woodward

Louis van Gaal and Ryan Giggs has plenty of thinking to do against Swansea © Getty Images
  • Louis van Gaal needs reinforcements with Manchester United no longer possessing the personnel to win the Premier League.
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Van Gaal is desperate to bolster his depleted squad having seen Swansea come away from Old Trafford with a 2-1 victory on Saturday and has reportedly told United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward to pull out all the stops in order to secure Di Maria's signature.

That could mean a net spend of around £100m for the attacker, who Van Gaal recently labelled the "highest level", inclusive of a £50m transfer fee and around £200,000-a-week wages on a five-year deal.

The newspaper also claims Di Maria is aware of United's financial clout and has been surprised by the size of the offer, especially considering Paris Saint-Germain's long-standing interest in the 26-year-old this summer.

However, United's lack of Champions League football this season could prove to be a stumbling block in their hopes to sign the Argentine.

The club, though, appears confident in its pursuit of Di Maria's compatriot Rojo. Van Gaal has made improving his defence a key priority this summer following the departures of Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand and Rojo appears to fit the bill.

However, their chase for the 24-year-old has been complicated by ownership issues. Part-owners Doyen Sport are thought to own 75% of Rojo and would see a sizeable chunk of any transfer fee for their client, while his former club Spartak Moscow would be owed 20% of any sum received.

As a result, Lisbon rejected an initial £16m bid from United and are proving stubborn in their negotiations. The Portuguese club are holding out for £24m in order to maximise what they would earn from his sale; a fee that would also activate a release clause in the Rojo's existing contract.

The Mail also claims that talks have been held by both clubs regarding the availability of Nani, who could be used as a makeweight in any potential deal.

Lisbon want their former player to return on loan and, while United seem prepared to offer this, Nani is reportedly reluctant to leave Manchester.

United, though, remain confident they will overcome their difficulties and complete a deal for Rojo before the transfer window closes.

United have already spent a combined £56m on Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera. Moves for Rojo, Di Maria and Ajax's Daley Blind could take United's summer outlay past the £150m mark, though Woodward has set no limits on the transfer funds available to Van Gaal.

A move for Roma centre-back Mehdi Benatia has been mooted, although the defender recently said he was not interested in a move away from the Serie A side.

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