Five potential United targets for unprecedented spending spree

Toni Kroos, Germany National Football Team

Chief executive Ed Woodward has promised fans there will be substantial investment in the playing squad as the reigning champions continue to flounder.

Manchester United's chief executive Ed Woodward today sought to reassure fans by insisting there will be a radical overhaul of the playing staff at the club following a pitiful attempt at retaining the Premier League title.

Woodward suggested United will spend heavily and like never before with both he and Moyes enduring a troublesome debut season at the club.

Nemanja Vidic's announcement that he will leave the club this summer is likely to be the catalyst for further departures, with Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra almost certain for the exit alongside the under-performing Nani, Ashley Young and Javier Hernandez as well as fringe players such as Alexander Büttner.

"It's fair to say we are focused on strengthening the squad," the CEO told reporters at a conference call with investors to asses the club's quarterly financial results.

"We are looking at some players in the squad as well, as players that perhaps may be sold this summer.

"We wouldn't necessarily be looking to churn [offload] a huge number of players, because that can have a destabilising effect, but we aren't afraid of moving in the market in a way we perhaps haven't seen in recent years.

"If you look at the historical churning of players by number, we've had roughly three sales and three purchases each year, and it's possible we would do more than that, but I can't guide as to where that may end up.

"It is a dynamic situation and obviously the market itself can throw up opportunities or the opposite of that [with players leaving]."

With the club actively pursuing targets ahead of next season, the calibre of player they can entice may be impacted on by whether or not they qualify for the Champions League.

Currently sitting nine points off Liverpool in fourth, with the Reds boasting a far superior goal difference, it seems a slim possibility at present but nonetheless, these are just five players which could see the club return to the heights they have scaled with such regularity and custom in the Premier League era.

Ezequiel Garay - £12m:

The Benfica central defender's stock continues to rise in Portugal, where he has developed a reputation for portraying the no-nonsense type, certainly something United could use given Vidic's impending departure.

The rugged nature of Garay's work would compensate partially for the Serb's exit and he provides more experience than other target Eliaquim Mangala who, despite his undeniable potential, is still learning the trade.

Garay is more of a seasoned professional and is a long-term target of the Reds' scouting department, but rumours continue to link him with a move to Champions League last-16 outfit Zenit St Petersburg.

Luke Shaw - £25m:

The Southampton wing-back is, quite simply, the country's most precocious talent at the moment.

He is the heir apparent to Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines at international level and has already cemented a first-team spot at Southampton and some, having ousted the now on-loan Danny Fox on the left-hand side of the back four.

Manchester United have been used to snaring the country's best talent, take Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick for instance, and must enter the chase for Shaw despite his yearning for a move to Chelsea, who he supports.

Toni Kroos - £25m:

The Bayern Munich playmaker is unsettled at the Allianz Arena having had to play second fiddle to new manager Pep Guardiola's crown jewel in Thiago Alcantara since their summer moves.

Kroos has made no secret of his frustration on the bench and could be set for a close-season departure if he cannot work his way back into Guardiola's thinking.

Another factor which could help to speed up an exit is whether or not his standing in the international setup is affected as a result of his club toils, as he prepares to start for Germany at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Antoine Griezmann - £18m:

The French winger continues to dazzle at Real Sociedad where he is teaming up with former Arsenal striker Carlos Vela to keep La Real clinging onto the coat-tails of Athletic Bilbao and Villarreal in the hunt for the fourth Champions League spot in La Liga.

Griezmann has been one of the standout performers in the division having plundered a stunning 14 goals in 20 appearances from wide positions and also has two assists to boot but it is his goalscoring record, particularly given the loss of form from the majority of United's widemen that should appeal to Moyes.

United were able to experience him first hand in their Champions League group as they faced Sociedad twice and only scored one goal - an own-goal at that, across their two results, winning 1-0 and drawing 0-0. Griezmann failed to impress on the grandest of stages in Europe but has scored against Real Madrid, Sevilla and Athletic already this season so cannot be accused of shirking against the big boys.

Jackson Martinez - £20m:

The Colombian frontman is widely tipped to leave FC Porto this summer and certainly possesses the qualities required of a Premier League forward.

Standing at 6ft and providing pace as well as an aerial presence, Martinez is in demand and has conceded he his hoping to seal a summer switch to a big club having impressed during his time in Portugal.

And with doubts continuing to linger over the futures of Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie beyond the end of this season, Moyes may be tempted to use some of his reported £150m budget to reinforce his attacking options.

image: © Steindy

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