Change of position on 'striker' purchase

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has claimed that he may not be in the market for a striker.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has claimed that he may not be in the market for a striker.PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN JOSE • Louis van Gaal has claimed that he may not be in the market for a striker and that the "surprise" acquisition the Manchester United manager had previously mentioned plays in another position.

After his team defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 at the Avaya Stadium on Tuesday, van Gaal told reporters: "I don't know if I want to buy a striker. I have read in the media that a striker is the surprise. No, that I have not said. You are saying that, because my answer is like that. No, I mean something else."

United have allowed strikers Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao to leave the club over the summer and have yet to sign a centre-forward since.

In recent days, the Red Devils have been linked with Bayern Munich's Thomas Mueller, Barcelona's Pedro and Juventus' Fernando Llorente.

The German newspaper Bild yesterday went as far as to report that United have submitted a €100 million (S$148 million) bid for Mueller.

The 25-year-old forward played under van Gaal at the start of his career and is open to leaving Bayern, given his uneasy relationship with coach Pep Guardiola.

But van Gaal stressed that he is happy with his options up front.

Captain Wayne Rooney is set to be his first-choice forward in the new season. Javier Hernandez, who spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, and youngster James Wilson can provide cover.

"We have Rooney, he can play in striker's position, and all media had written he should play there so I listen and now you put this question so I don't know what you want," van Gaal said. He was referring to media reports last season that he had played the England international out of position when Rooney featured in midfield.

"Also (Hernandez) and maybe Wilson and maybe there comes a surprise. It's a process. I'm not worried about that position."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2015, with the headline 'Change of position on 'striker' purchase'. Print Edition | Subscribe