Louis van Gaal
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal faces being without a number of key individuals Getty Images

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has refused to deny the club are interested in signing Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale.

Spanish media reports have suggested United will lodge a £120m bid for Bale, who is 18 months into his career at Real after joining the club from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 for a world record fee.

United embarked on a record summer of spending during the off-season but Van Gaal has refused to confirmed whether that will continue with a bid for the Wales international.

"I will not discuss that with you," Van Gaal said when asked about the reports regarding Bale. "I discuss that with my chief executive [Ed Woodward] and not with anyone of the media."

In the first of four games in 11 days over the festive period, against Newcastle United, Van Gaal is set to be without seven first-team players after he admitted none of the club's injury victims will recover in time for the Boxing Day fixture.

Ander Herrera became the latest addition to the United treatment table having missed the draw with Aston Villa after picking up a knock and joins fellow midfielders Daley Blind and Marouane Fellaini, who are out of action.

Luke Shaw, Tom Thorpe, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling as all absent but Vaan Gaal admitted the England defender was the closest to making a return in time to feature during the festive period.

Asked whether any of United's injury victims could be in line for an imminent return, Van Gaal responded: "I don't think so, I am sorry. Maybe Smalling. Fellaini is still not available.

The former Netherlands coach added: "For a few players, it [the Christmas period] is fun because they are recovering quickly. You also have players who are not recovering so quickly, so I have to rotate. I have a lot of injured players, that is the problem with these matches.

"My record in away matches as a coach is not so bad. Away, teams are more open and want to attack but here they want to defend. That is why we have to build up a certain playing style so we can dominate. I'm saying every week that we are dominating for 45 or 60 minutes. We have to dominate for 90 minutes."

There is positive news on the prognosis regarding Blind, who has been out since November with a knee ligament problem, after the Dutch midfield confirmed he has resumed training ahead of the festive period, with a new year return in the pipeline.