Hindsight in a wonderful thing. No manager gets all the players he wants, but Louis van Gaal was left disappointed with Manchester United’s business on more than one occasion.
Fans won’t be surprised by any of this because we’ve spoken about the Glazer family and their continued ruination of our football club since their debt-ridden takeover in 2005.
Now, Louis van Gaal claims he attempted to sign the likes of Neymar, Robert Lewandowski and Sadio Mane during his time at Old Trafford.
The players we brought were in were Radamel Falcao, Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial.
“I wanted Robert Lewandowski, but when this proved difficult I tried to get Gonzalo Higuain instead,” Van Gaal told FourFourTwo.
“Before I had arrived, I also spoke with the board about Neymar. If you are United, you have to think big.
“He was also interesting for the club in terms of selling shirts, and I wanted to have quick wingers. For that reason, I also tried to get Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez.
“Thomas Muller was on my wish list, too, and in central midfield I wanted N’Golo Kante.
“I even tried to sign James Milner, who was already quite old but very multi-functional and possessed leadership skills.
“For the defence, I wanted Sergio Ramos and Mats Hummels, because ours wasn’t the strongest in building from the back. Those were my top targets, but we couldn’t get any of them. I don’t know why, because as the manager I wasn’t involved in any negotiations.
“After I left, players like Mahrez and Kante ended up at Manchester City and Chelsea, while United couldn’t get them. I found that very odd.”
Van Gaal’s recruitment at United was poor and I’m sure he will put a lot of that down to Ed Woodward, who we shouldn’t pretend if free of any criticism here.
We know this summer that Jadon Sancho is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s prime target, as per the Manchester Evening News, but United seem to be dragging their heals over that deal too.
Will the Norwegian have a similar story to Van Gaal’s when asked about his second summer in charge of United? We hope now because there’s been so much progression on the pitch it would be a disgrace to stop working towards something now.
Some of the fans Van Gaal names would have been difficult to get in, with the likes of Ramos busy winning Champions League with Real Madrid at the time, but 10 top players and all failed attempts? That’s shocking for a club like Manchester United.
“I met with them in Brussels — clubs often organise talks in foreign cities so the media can’t track them down easily,” Van Gaal added. “The Glazers and Ed Woodward were there — they asked me about everything, including my vision and how I would want to organise things, and said they would meet my needs for new players.
“I inherited an old team that hadn’t been refreshed for some time, and wanted to rejuvenate the squad with players who would bring the same kind of quality. But to get the ones I wanted proved very difficult.
“It surprised me, even though I understand that clubs hold out for the highest fee because they know United are the richest in the world. At the same time, though, if you are the richest, you’d expect to get what you want.
“But it didn’t happen: we only got third, fourth or fifth choice players.”