Depay or not to buy – United plan cash splash and close in on Champions League

Louis van Gaal had to act fast to sign Memphis Depay ahead of a potential £200million spending spree as United look to close on the Champions League prize at Crystal Palace.

The Dutch winger has agreed a £30million deal with after scoring 21 goals in 28 games for PSV, and Van Gaal said he had to act fast to prevent Depay joining PSG.

The 13-time Premier League champions travel to Palace on Saturday evening on the back of three defeats but believes his side just need a bit of luck to improve their form.

“The Champions League is a prize in itself. A club like Manchester United must play at the highest podium,” the former Barcelona manager told MUTV.

“I am not very concerned, but we must start finishing our chances. I think we need a little bit of luck and also composure in front of goal.

“That I cannot provide, the players have to do that by themselves. We have the pressure.”

United are currently four points ahead of fifth place Liverpool with three games remaining, but will be without the influential Michael Carrick for the rest of the season.

“We tried everything but now we have to think about next season,” added Van Gaal, who admitted that his vice captain might be entering the latter stages of his career.

“When you see the stats, it’s clear that he’s very important but that’s also because we have only one right-sided holding midfielder.

“Our selection is not balanced and I want to restore that in the next transfer period. Life doesn’t end at 34, but for a professional player, it’s close by.”

In addition to signing Depay, Van Gaal is rumoured to have £200million to improve his squad, and has also been linked with Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan.

However, the United manager admitted that he would have preferred not to make a signing before the end of the season.

“I want to purchase players after our season and not during the season because it disturbs out concentration for the match,” said Van Gaal.

“The coming matches are very important but, because of the market, I must handle it because otherwise he would have signed for PSG. That is why I signed Memphis.

“Depay is a goal-scoring winger and there aren’t so many of them in the world. Messi is one of those but now we have to focus on Palace, that’s more important.”

United need six points from their final three games to guarantee Champions League qualification next season.

However, Van Gaal’s side have won just six of 17 games without Michael Carrick this season compared to 13 of 18 in which the midfielder has played.

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