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United wanted Hummels and Carvalho
Manchester United tried to sign Mats Hummels of Borussia Dortmund and Sporting Lisbon's William Carvalho in the frantic final week of the window, sources have told ESPN.
United spent more than £150 million, which was a record for any club in a single window. Despite that, they were prepared to spend even more, as manager Louis van Gaal still wanted to bring in a commanding centre-back and midfielder.
Glazers' spending is just great
- Louis van Gaal has thanked Manchester United's owners for backing him in the transfer market despite his difficult start to life at Old Trafford. The club spent £150 million in the summer transfer window as the Dutchman started to rebuild the squad and the overhaul looks set to continue in January.
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The initial top target as regards the latter was Juventus' Arturo Vidal, but doubts over the condition of his knee meant the club were reluctant to spend a huge fee on a player who may have required an incentivised contract.
ESPN was also told that another early primary target was Hummels. United had made an enquiry about the Germany defender in June only to be firmly rebuffed by Dortmund, but broached the possibility again when negotiations began over Shinji Kagawa's return to the Westfalenstadion.
United suggested Hummels could be exchanged for £20m and Kagawa, but Dortmund again rejected the idea and ultimately signed the midfielder for €8m.
A similar partial swap deal for Carvalho was also attempted by United on deadline day itself, offering Anderson and a fee. Sporting were not interested, and sources state that the player himself was still holding out for a move to Arsenal, due to their participation in the Champions League.
United also made a tentative enquiry for Nigel de Jong of AC Milan that went nowhere.
Van Gaal retains some concerns over his midfield, and would have gone for Roma's Kevin Strootman in the summer were it not for the midfielder's need to recover from a serious knee injury. The 24-year-old suffered damage to his anterior cruciate ligament in March, which cost him a place in Van Gaal's Netherlands World Cup squad.
The United manager is said to now be content with their summer work, after a huge acceleration in business over the past two weeks. Sources say that came after a summit meeting the day after the 2-1 defeat to Swansea in their Premier League opener, during which Van Gaal pressed home the need for reinforcements. United ended up signing four players in the final two weeks, in contrast to just two before that.
Van Gaal told De Telegraaf that, when he had been in a similar situation after taking over at Bayern Munich, club president Uli Hoeness had demanded answers.
Bayern, like United, collected only two points from their opening three games in the 2009-10 campaign and Van Gaal told the Dutch newspaper: "At around the same time at Bayern, I was called in to explain myself. By Hoeness. But you know what the people at United do? They just keep buying! They support me! They have faith in me! You can feel that, as a person, too."
There is now expected to be further expenditure in January.
This article originally appeared on ESPN FC