Manchester United are not in the position they would have wanted to be in after spending the amount they did in the summer and it is no surprise Louis van Gaal’s side is linked with another defender and a holding midfielder in the winter transfer window.

United are said to be making a shock £20m move for Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, a player who spent four seasons with the club in the past.

United boss Louis Van Gaal went all out on attacking flair in the summer and got the likes of Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao towards the end. However, the lack of cohesion at the back and some solidity is very visible and reports suggest that the Dutchman is still desperate to sign defensive re-enforcements and has put Barcelona’s Pique at the top of his wanted list.

Van Gaal has been told he has more funds to spend in the next transfer window and has made a centre back his priority.

Pique joined United from Barcelona in 2004 and spent four seasons with the Red Devils. He made just 12 league appearances under Sir Alex Ferguson and was sent to Real Zaragoza on a season-long loan in 2006. He returned to United but was sold back to Barca for just £5m in 2008 and went on to establish himself at the Spanish giants.

The defender has done well for himself with the Catalan giants and was a regular alongside Carles Puyol in a side that won four La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies.

However, some average and sub-average performances have seen the 27 year old fall down the pecking order this season since Luis Enrique took charge as Barca boss. He has made just five league appearances, with Enrique preferring both Jeremy Mathieu and Javier Mascherano ahead of him. With the return of Thomas Vermaelen from injury, his competition will increase further still.

At Manchester United, he would certainly be a guaranteed starter. However, in a recent interview he said that he wants to stay with the La Liga giants in the near future.

“You never know what the future holds, but right now, I love this city, I love the people in the club, and most importantly, I love the institution. I don’t see myself leaving.”

United’s defence has been far from effective this season, despite the summer signings of Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo. The injuries have not helped but even their first choice defensive partnership has not exactly done a very good job. Pique would certainly be a good addition to United but convincing Barcelona to let go of a good player, who is a great defender to have in the squad, would be very tough.

Meanwhile reports also suggest that the Old Trafford club is looking to get Arsenal and Chelsea target Sami Khedira to Manchester. Manchester are apparently willing to increase his £150,000 pay packet to near £200,000. Angel di Maria could play a part in bringing in ex-Real Madrid player to the side.

But Carlo Ancelotti told the Evening Standard that a mid-season move would not happen. He said, “We have until June to reach an agreement with him. If he wants to sign an extension, the club will renew him. If not, he will leave the team at the end of the season.’