The Red Devils had to line-up with a patchwork starting XI, featuring Tyler Blackett at centre back and Ashley Young and Jesse Lingard as wing backs, and it ultimately ending in disappointment. Garry Monk's Swansea left Old Trafford with a 2-1 win following goals from Ki Sung-Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson, as Wayne Rooney's second half goal wasn't enough to hand United a point.
The result has left most United fans crying out for new signings, with centre backs mostly on the agenda, along with Juventus' Arturo Vidal. The Chilean would go some way to solving Manchester United's midfield problems, as van Gaal needs to bring in a partner for new signing Ander Herrera in the centre of midfield.
One of the problems that United had against the Swans today was that they didn't have the physicality to hassle and dispossess the Swansea, who managed to keep the ball at will at times, whilst they also found a lot of space behind Herrera and Darren Fletcher.
Given the three-man backline at Old Trafford, protection through the middle is important, particularly given how United's centre backs spread out to form full backs. That was missing today, and van Gaal has to find a player who can play as a holding midfielder.
The role was filled expertly by Nigel de Jong for van Gaal's Netherlands side at the World Cup, and reports have already linked United with a move to sign the former Manchester City star this summer. The AC Milan midfielder enjoyed a stunning World Cup under van Gaal, breaking down opposition attacks and bringing added aggression to a mostly finesse-based midfield. Another player who could fit the bill is Sporting Lisbon's William Carvalho, but it's imperative that United bring in an anchor man for the midfield to function properly.
It's not a flashy area to strengthen, but after watching United struggle at times against Swansea today, someone in the mould of de Jong has to be brought in before the transfer deadline.