Credit: Paulo Camera

Manchester United’s plans on handing Louis van Gaal a £100 million transfer fund next summer could be brought forward to January, with the club now very much a part of this season’s title race. The Dutchman had been told he would be able to add up to four major new additions to his squad in the summer of 2015. But with United now right in the title mix with the likes of betfair this season, LVG could be given the green light on a number of his major targets right away in the hope of the club continuing to claw back Chelsea and Manchester City at the top of the table.

Despite spending more than £150 million during last summer’s transfer window with the signings of seven new players, including a £6 million loan deal for Monaco forward Radamel Falcao, United manager Van Gaal and the club’s senior management feel the job is still far from done in creating a squad capable of again dominating English football.

Should LVG use the reported £100 million available to him, it would take the club’s spending to £360 million since Sir Alex Ferguson – including those signings made by David Moyes during his brief tenure.

But despite that huge financial outlay, there is little doubt there is still plenty to do for this squad to be able to realistically challenge for honours in the same way they did under Ferguson. The recent form may have given the club a chance of pushing Chelsea and City in this season’s title race, but LVG has a lot of work to do if this squad are going to be able to really reclaim the throne on a permanent basis.

While the majority of that work will be done in the coming summer, there now appears to be a real chance that United could be one of the busier clubs in the January transfer window. So who might be arriving at Old Trafford in the New Year and could there still be a chance of LVG guiding the club to the Premier League title in his first season in charge?

Juan Cuadrado

One player who looks almost certain to be heading to Manchester in January is Colombia winger Juan Cuadrado. The question is, though, whether it will be Old Trafford or the Etihad where the 26-year-old will be playing after January. Cuadrado has been the subject of plenty of interest since his impressive performances for Colombia in this summer’s World Cup, with Barcelona and Chelsea also in the race to sign the winger. But it looks as though it will be Manchester City or United who win the battle for the South American’s signature and LVG is rumoured to be confident about getting a deal agreed at some point in January.

Cuadrado has been a key player for Fiorentina since his move from Udinese in 2012. The Serie A side would also be looking for a fee of around £30 million to part with their star man after only agreeing a new contract in October. On the evidence of his form over the past 12 months, though, that money would not be a massive risk and United could be happy to meet Fiorentina’s demands in order to get a deal done quickly. While Van Gaal has a number of wingers already at his disposal, the signing of Cuadrado would add a whole new dimension to this United attack.

Kevin Strootman

After being linked with Manchester United for over two years, Kevin Strootman could finally be on his way to Old Trafford in January. Ferguson and Moyes had tried to sign the Roma midfielder during their time in charge and that interest has continued following Van Gaal’s arrival as manager. The United boss has seen what Strootman brings to a team during his time as Holland head coach and the midfielder looks close to being reunited with his former national team boss. Injury ruled Strootman out of the World Cup and Van Gaal was forced to rethink his entire plans following the news, highlighting the reverence in which the United manager holds the midfielder.

Now back in action following a nine-month lay-off, Strootman would be something of a risky signing this January. If United want to buy the Dutchman in this transfer window, the Roma man won’t have a lot of time to prove he is fully fit and worth the reported £30 million the Serie A club are demanding. Another issue could be Roma’s reluctance to sell. Despite Strootman apparently making it clear he wants to move to the Premier League, Roma have come out again to claim they are not looking to lose the 24-year-old and United won’t find it easy to get their man.

Jose Gimenez

While it had been Diego Godin that many felt would be the subject of the Manchester United’s interest in January, it now looks as though it could be another Uruguayan defender on Van Gaal’s radar. Godin has been linked with a move to United since the World Cup but now it appears it will be his Atletico Madrid defensive partner, Jose Gimenez, who makes the move from the Vicente Calderon to Old Trafford. The 19-year-old had been expected to make the move to Manchester City in January but United now look to have stolen a march on their city rivals and put themselves in the lead to sign Gimenez.

Van Gaal found himself down to the defensive bare bones early in the season, forced to blood the likes of Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair a lot earlier and more frequently than he would have wanted. With his attacking unit now beginning to really hit form, Van Gaal knows that bolstering his defence as soon as possible will be critical to any hope United have of challenging for the title this season. While Gimenez might be relatively young, he has racked up a solid level of experience for his age and shown he has everything needed to be a top defender.

And the big one……

Gareth Bale

While it’s highly unlikely he would be arriving in January, there has been a growing feeling among Spanish journalists that Real Madrid are already looking to sell Gareth Bale at the end of the season. The Welshman has only been in Madrid since September of 2013 but Real are reportedly willing to part ways with their record signing in order to add Raheem Sterling and Eden Hazard to their ranks. Bale has been a crucial member of this Real side since his arrival, but Carlo Ancelotti has apparently told the club’s board that he could sacrifice the former Tottenham star in favour of Sterling and Hazard as well as Dortmund midfielder Marco Reus. Although Ancelotti may claim otherwise.

After paying a reported £85 million to sign Bale, Real would be looking to recuperate as much of that fee as possible. Whether United would be willing to match a similar fee remains to be seen but there are some who believe Bale would be just the sort of signing that could lead the club back to the top of the game. With a permanent deal for Falcao now looking unlikely, that planned fee could find its way to be used to bring Bale back to the Premier League.