Premier League

Van Gaal reveals 10 superstars he tried to sign as Man Utd boss

The Dutchman was in charge at Old Trafford for two seasons between 2014 and 2016

11:30am on Tuesday 25th August 2020
Martin Macdonald

Louis van Gaal has revealed some of the transfer targets he had as manager of Manchester United which didn't pan out, including Neymar and Robert Lewandowski.

The former Bayern and Netherlands boss took over David Moyes as United boss following the conclusion of the 2014 World Cup in which he took the Oranje to the semi-final where they lost against Argentina.

During his tenure at Old Trafford he spent big money on the likes of Angel Di Maria and Memphis Depay, while Bastian Schweinsteiger and Radamel Falcao were brought in on huge salaries.

According to the man himself, though, his United team could have looked very different if the club had managed to acquire all his targets.

"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 at 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 Mané and Riyad Mahrez. Thomas Muller was on my wish list, too, and in central midfield, I wanted N’Golo Kanté. I even tried to sign James Milner, who was already quite old but very multifunctional 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 Kanté ended up at Manchester City and Chelsea, while United couldn’t get them. I found that very odd."

14 players Van Gaal signed:

Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, Anthony Martial, Daley Blind, Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Ander Herrera, Victor Valdes, Luke Shaw, Morgan Schneiderlin, Sergio Romero, Marcos Rojo, Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger

Van Gaal's wishlist:

Robert Lewandowski, Gonzalo Higuain, Neymar, Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez, Thomas Muller, N'Golo Kante, James Milner, Sergio Ramos, Mats Hummels

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