Van Gaal: Signing world-class midfielder priority

Signing a midfielder at the end of the Premier League season is top priority for Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, who wants to free up captain Wayne Rooney.

Rooney has played away from his favoured attacking position at Old Trafford for most of the 2014-15 Premier League season, deployed as a central midfielder by Van Gaal in order to balance United's starting line-up.

Rooney was even utilised as a deep-lying midfielder in front of United's back four when Daley Blind suffered an injury against Stoke City last week.

Van Gaal has opted for Rooney in that role ahead of midfield regulars Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini, while Michael Carrick is injured.

But the England international forward could be set for a return up front, with Van Gaal revealing he is on hunt for a midfielder, having considered a move for Juventus star Arturo Vidal before the season started.

"Yes, of course. Of course that's the case. I'm looking for balance and I need it in midfield," Van Gaal said ahead of United's FA Cup fifth round showdown against Preston North End on Monday.

"In the last games, I played with Adnan Januzaj and Angel di Maria in the midfield positions and you need a certain balance for those kind of creative players.

"So when you have these creative players and you think that [Radamel] Falcao and [Robin] van Persie are also creative, then you have four creative players. Then you have to look for balance in your team."

Van Gaal, who is reportedly monitoring former United man Paul Pogba and Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman, added: "No [I don't have all the players I need], but I've already said that.

"Every game that I was pleased with something, we have played parts of the game at a level where I think: 'OK we have to [strengthen]'.

"We never played 90 minutes. We have played maybe 80 minutes or 70 minutes and I have said that.

"We have also played very well and lost the game, that is also happening. That's the beauty of football, the better team is not always winning."