The Red Devils currently have three stoppers in their first-team fold in the shape of David de Gea, Victor Valdes and Anders Lindegaard, but with the two Spaniards rumoured to be on their way out of Old Trafford and the Dane having not played a Premier League game since April 2014 it remains unclear who will be at the club come the end of the summer transfer window.
Let’s start with de Gea who has been consistently linked with a move to Real Madrid in one of the highest profile transfer sagas of the summer.
The 24-year-old’s contract in Manchester is set to expire next summer and it is believed that he is in favour of a return to his native Spain, with United unsure whether to cash in on the youngster now or spend the season trying to tie him down to a new deal.
The Spanish international is undoubtedly one of the best goalkeepers of his generation and he could enjoy another ten to 15 years at the top of the game having won the player of the season award in each of the last two years at Old Trafford.
The former Atletico Madrid player has come on leaps and bounds during his four years in the Premier League and he is seven and nine years younger than Lindegaard and Valdes respectively, but could United ultimately survive without the sort after stopper.
Former Barcelona star Valdes was expected to be an ideal replacement for de Gea should the youngster move on, but he now appears to have no future with the English giants.
The 33-year-old joined the Manchester side on a free transfer in January and is also contracted to the club until next summer, but he has now been made available for transfer by van Gaal, who claims the Spaniard refused to play in an under-21 match last season and does not follow the same philosophy as the club.
Should both Spaniards move on before the end of the summer then most will expect United to invest heavily in a new stopper, but if they were unable to bring in a new number one then they may have to turn to the forgotten man in the shape of Lindegaard.
The former Danish international has not featured in any competitive match for the 20-time English champions since the 4-0 away win against Newcastle towards the end of the 2013-14 campaign and, in total, he has only made 19 league appearances since joining the club in 2010.
This lack of action, particularly since the arrival of van Gaal means the 31-year-old is unlikely to be entrusted with first-team responsibilities for the long-term, so who are the most likely candidates to challenge for the number one jersey.
Dutch international Jasper Cillessen is one name that has been linked with a switch to Old Trafford and his club boss at Ajax Frank de Boer admitted recently that he would be powerless to stop the 26-year-old leaving his side should United come calling.
The former NEC stopper has won 21 caps for his country and was their first-choice goalkeeper during last summer’s World Cup when van Gaal was in charge of the Dutch side.
Cillessen has also won three Eredivisie titles and played in the Champions League with the Amsterdam club so he could well have the top level experience needed to thrive at the English giants.
Another stopper linked with van Gaal’s side is Sergio Romero with some quarters suggesting that the Sampdoria player is set to have a medical with the Manchester club.
The 28-year-old is another player with experience at the very highest level having played for Argentina in the World Cup final in 2014 and he has also enjoyed spells in Dutch, Italian and French football since moving to Europe in 2007.
Whoever ends up being the number one at Old Trafford will know that he will have to perform to the highest standards as the Red Devils aim to challenge for honours both domestically and in Europe over the coming seasons.