Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal Getty Images

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is planning swap deals in order to land his preferred defensive targets.

According to the Express, the Dutchman is looking to bring Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels and Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen to Old Trafford, but is yet to convince both of the clubs to part with their players, even though bids have been made.

It now looks like van Gaal is set to tempt Arsenal and Dortmund, with player-plus-cash deals in a final bid to land both the defenders.

The Red Devils are offering the Bundesliga club their former player Shinji Kagawa, in the hope that it will help them land Hummels, who is the manager's primary defensive target. The Japanese playmaker has found it hard to nail down a starting spot at United and his former club are keen to take him back to Germany.

With Nani not impressing new manager van Gaal, and Arsenal having previously shown interest in the player, the former Bayern Munich manager will be hoping that he can re-ignite the Gunners' interest and persuade them to part with Vermaelen as part of the deal. The Belgian defender has seen himself pushed down the pecking order at the Emirates during the previous campaign.

The former Netherlands coach has shown that he prefers a 3-5-2 formation and for that to work, he will need three solid central defenders, and thus is keen to land the two experienced players.

Meanwhile, van Gaal has admitted that he has taken over an unbalanced and broken team. He feels that it will be a difficult task to succeed immediately with the team currently at his disposal. United finished seventh in the Premier League during the previous campaign.

"[On whether he was taking over the reins at a good time] No. I don't agree. I had to follow Bobby Robson at Barcelona the year after he won three titles and there wasn't a problem," van Gaal said, as quoted in the Daily Mail.

"When there is success you have a very good squad, and now I have to follow and the squad was broken I think.

"It is not in balance. It's more difficult to succeed in a difficult situation than in a fantastic situation," the former Dutch coach added.