LONDON • Louis van Gaal was at pains to insist that he is a coach rather than a chequebook manager, but the Manchester United boss nevertheless finds himself in the midst of a period of frenzied wheeling and dealing in the transfer market.
The latest news from Old Trafford is that Bayern Munich's long-time stalwart Bastian Schweinsteiger has agreed to join the Red Devils, reported The Daily Mail.
It is understood the 30-year-old Germany midfielder's relationship with van Gaal - who coached Bayern from 2009 to 2011 - was a major factor behind his decision to accept the offer from United.
Speaking at a press conference to unveil Bayern's summer signings, the club's chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: "Bastian wants to do something new at the end of his career. He asked that we meet his wishes.
"My colleagues at Manchester United have been in touch.
Bastian wants to do something new at the end of his career. He asked that we meet his wishes.''
KARL-HEINZ RUMMENIGGE, Bayern Munich chief executive
"We have reached an agreement over a transfer. It's regrettable because Bastian meant a great deal to the club. He achieved great things."
German daily Bild said the deal is worth between 18 and 20 million euros (S$30 million).
United had unveiled Memphis Depay, 21, the £25 million (S$52 million) forward from PSV Eindhoven, on Friday. Despite the Dutchman declaring himself ready to help the Red Devils win the English Premier League, van Gaal insisted that he is not the finished product yet.
Said the United boss: "He is one of the greatest of his age. He is full of confidence, as you can see.
"But he will notice that it's not so easy here, that it is a lot harder than in the Dutch league. There is always pressure on the ball.
"The physical resistance is high."
A £12.9 million deal to sign Matteo Darmian should be finalised over the weekend, with the Torino full-back arriving in Manchester on Friday for a medical examination.
Meanwhile, United are continuing to pursue other players, including Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi and Southampton's defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, as well as attacking targets.
There will also be a slew of departures from Old Trafford. Luis Nani has left for Fenerbahce and the Turkish club expect Robin van Persie to join him in a £5 million deal.
But van Gaal has refused to confirm the striker's departure, merely saying: "When we feel we can say (van Persie) is gone, you shall hear it from Manchester United.
"We don't have this feeling yet."
With van Persie's days at Old Trafford numbered, and with Radamel Falcao now a Chelsea player after van Gaal opted not to sign him on a permanent basis, United are short on numbers in attack.
"It is for me a question mark because I have to see how we solve this problem," van Gaal said.
"It is also one of the reasons we have bought Memphis. We have to see in which position he can give the greatest benefit to the team."
Tom Cleverley and Angelo Henriquez have joined Everton and Dinamo Zagreb respectively.
Rafael da Silva and Javier Hernandez also look set to leave.
United depart for their pre-season tour of the United States tomorrow and van Gaal had hoped his squad for the new EPL campaign would have taken shape by now.
Instead, doubts persist over several areas of his team - not least goalkeeper, with Real Madrid still refusing to meet United's £25 million valuation of David de Gea.
When asked whether he was concerned by de Gea's frame of mind, van Gaal said: "He is a very professional player and he showed a fantastic attitude. That is the difficulty now for every manager. This period, when players have to go or not, is the most difficult time."
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN