Louis Van Gaal has spoken out about how his attempts to build a Manchester United dream team, to reclaim their past glory, was thwarted.
“I wanted Robert Lewandowski, but when this proved difficult I tried to get Gonzalo Higuain instead,
“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,” Van Gaal describes in the latest edition of Four Four Two, due out 26 August.
Van Gaal said he also tried to get African stars in Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, from Senegal and Machester City’s Riyad Mahrez, from Algeria. He also wanted German forward Thomas Muller as well as central midfield general N’Golo Kanté from France.
Manchester United have struggled since the retirement of their legendary manager, who was at the helm of the club for 27 years, Sir Alex Ferguson. Van Gaal, who absolved himself of blame, voiced his dissatisfaction of the club failing to sign any of the players on his 10-man shortlist.
He told Four Four Two: “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.”
Van Gaal, who won the coveted Champions League with Bayern Munich in 1996, said his frustration with United’s board grew as other top teams claimed his targets.
“After I left, players like [Riyad] Mahrez and [N’Golo] Kanté ended up at Manchester City and Chelsea, while United couldn’t get them. I found that very odd.”
The Dutchman would eventually be sacked by the club, two years after his appointment, after success in the 2016 FA Cup.