Miralem Pjanic
Miralem Pjanić has been earmarked as the perfect replacement for Steven GerrardReuters

Manchester United have stepped up their interest in Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanić, according to the Daily Mirror.

The Red Devils will face massive competition from Liverpool, who have earmarked the midfielder as a successor to Steven Gerrard, who has announced his decision to leave in the summer.

Louis van Gaal is looking to make some massive investments over the summer to rekindle their credentials as title challengers.

The Red Devils are currently third in the league, eight points behind Chelsea and have the chance to bring the deficit down to five points with a win this weekend.

However, Van Gaal understands that this team, with its current crop of players are not yet ready to put in a sustained challenge at the top of the table, for which he is looking to strengthen in all aspects of the field.

United were interested in Pjanić well before he signed a new deal with Roma, but with a lot of clubs vying for his signature, the Serie A club may be willing to put him on the market to drive up his price and sell from a tangible profit.

Liverpool will find it very difficult to prise Pjanić away from Roma amid interest from United, given they cannot match the price afforded by the Red Devils with their financial prowess. The Reds are also looking unlikely to finish in the top four, currently four points adrift of Manchester City and eight behind United, with only six games left in the season.

However, Van Gaal's priority lies in Pjanić's midfield partner Kevin Strootman but his injury problems over the past few years have put his future in doubt, forcing the Dutchman to look at other options.

Meanwhile, in defence, Van Gaal is preparing a move for Mats Hummels to add more resistance to their backline, saved a plethora of times by the heroics of David de Gea.