Report: Louis van Gaal has five player transfer shortlist, and four are defenders

Five players have been named as transfer targets for Manchester United, but can they land any of them?

The Guardian has named the five players Louis van Gaal is most determined to sign to improve his Manchester United team.

Yet all five of the players are far from easy to sign, and United will run into opposition from clubs.

The report states: "Everton’s Seamus Coleman, Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne and Barcelona’s Dani Alves are of interest to Van Gaal as a first-choice right-back.

"He has identified Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels at centre-back and Kevin Strootman in central midfield as his ideal additions in those positions."

The fact three right-backs feature on the list says a lot about Van Gaal's alleged at least, lack of confidence in Rafael da Silva to feature as a first choice for his side.

Assessing the names mentioned, Everton are unlikely to allow Coleman to move easily. The defender signed a new contract only last June, taking him up until 2019.  He told The BBC at the time: "It was a very happy decision. I've been at Everton for five years and I love everything about the place."

Nathaniel Clyne is having a superb season at Southampton, becoming an England international. If United wanted to sign him, there is a strong chance they could charge a similar fee to the £27 million United paid for Luke Shaw last summer.

Signing Dani Alves from Barcelona is more viable, with the Brazilian a free agent at the end of the season. The La Liga side are likely to be reluctant to cash in on him now however, as they cannot replace him due to their current transfer ban.

Mats Hummels is the current captain of Borussia Dortmund, and was linked to United by The Mail last week, only for his father to state there was no truth to rumours he could depart.

Strootman himself was reported by ESPN last week affirming his immediate future to Roma. The Italian side are desperate to hang onto the midfielder now he has recovered from his serious knee injury.

The path to these signings appear fraught with difficulty for United, especially mid-season. If the Red Devils are determined to make additions this season - they may have to cast their net a little wider.

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