Transfer roundup: Van Gaal hints at ‘mystery’ signing

The most recent reports have claimed that the signing is most likely to be 30-year-old Fernando Llorente

Sports Desk July 22, 2015
Manchester United coach has denied that he is looking for another strike. PHOTO: AFP

Speculation has arisen as to who could possibly be Manchester United’s ‘mystery signing’, as alluded to by United manager Louis van Gaal.

The most recent reports have claimed that the signing is most likely to be 30-year-old Fernando Llorente of Juventus. At 6”5, the Spain international would solve United’s ‘height problem’ which was bemoaned by van Gaal last season.

However, Dutchman van Gaal has denied that he is looking for another striker.

After watching his team beat San Jose Earthquakes 3-1, he said: "I don't know if I want to buy a striker. I have read in the media the striker is the surprise. No, that's not what I said.

"But you are saying that. No, I mean something else."

He added: "It's a process. When we think we have to say something, I shall say it. He shall come July 25."

However, rumours are persisting that is in fact a forward who remains United’s top priority. This is unsurprising, given the departure of Robin van Persie to Fernabahce, the ending of Falcao’s loan deal and an injury to Javier Hernandez, who spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, ruling him out of the start of the new season.

Thomas Muller has also been noted as a target by the German media, with Bayern Munich allegedly turning down a €100m offer from United.

Draxler attracts Juve’s attention

Julian Draxler could be on his way to the Serie A, after his club Schalke gave Juventus permission to open negotiations with the young midfielder.

Juventus are reportedly offering €25m (£17.5m) for the World Cup winner, who can play both as a winger and as a central attacking midfielder.

However, Schalke value the player at closer to €35m (£24.5m).

Juventus, runners-up in last season’s Champions League, are looking to rebuild their squad after offloading Andrea Pirlo to New York City FC and Arturo Vidal close to joining Bayern Munich for a fee of around £30m. The situation regarding Paul Pogba is also far from settled, with Barcelona and Manchester City reportedly interested in acquiring the Frenchman.

Schalke have already earmarked Inter Milan winger Xherdan Shaqiri as a potential replacement for Draxler should the latter decide to leave the Bundesliga. Shaqiri, like Draxler, can operate in both the central and wide midfield roles.

Szczesny to seize Roma offer

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny could be on his way to the Serie A, after reports circulated that the 25-year-old has opened talks with Roma over a protracted one-year loan move, with a view to a permanent deal.

The Polish shot-stopper lost his regular starting place at the Emirates to David Ospina, after disciplinary issues and a loss of form.

Having made 132 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, his reputation was damaged after being caught smoking in the showers following a 2-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day – a game in which he was at fault for both goals.

The summer arrival of Petr Cech has further enhanced the view that Szczesny is surplus to requirements in North London. Cech is expected to be the Gunners' no.1 this season, having made the short journey across London from Premier League rivals Chelsea, although initial reports suggested that Ospina would be the one to make way following the Czech’s arrival.

Szczesny’s proposed loan deal with Roma could turn into a permanent move, depending on his performances in the coming season.

The Polish international had earlier fuelled speculation that he was heading to Italy by following a number of Roma’s players on Instagram.