‘If you are at United, you have to think big’: Louis van Gaal reveals TEN stars he tried to sign at Old Trafford – including Neymar, Robert Lewandowski, Sergio Ramos and JAMES MILNER – and slams Ed Woodward for not landing ANY of them
- Louis van Gaal became manager at Manchester United in the summer of 2014
- The Dutch coach was keen to improve his squad with some star players
- Robert Lewandowski, Neymar and Sergio Ramos were all targets for Van Gaal
- Though United missed out on a host of names, they spent big on Angel Di Maria
Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed the 10 star names he tried to bring in upon his arrival at Old Trafford in 2014.
Van Gaal took over following the sacking of David Moyes the previous season and after he guided his native Holland to third place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
But in an interview with FourFourTwo, Van Gaal has now divulged the players he wanted to bring in during his first summer in charge, but was unable to do so.
Louis van Gaal has revealed all the star names he tried to bring in as Manchester United boss
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski was a target but proved too difficult to sign
Brazilian star Neymar, then at Barcelona, was also considered for a big-money move to United
‘I wanted Robert Lewandowski, but when this proved difficult I tried to get Gonzalo Higuain instead,’ Van Gaal said.
‘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 Mane and Riyad Mahrez. Thomas Muller was on my wish list, too, and in central midfield I wanted N’Golo Kanté.
Van Gaal was interested in signing Real Madrid centre back Sergio Ramos six years ago
James Milner, then at rivals Manchester City, was also looked at by the Dutch manager
The new issue of FourFourTwo is out on Wednesday, August 26
‘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 [Riyad] Mahrez and [N’Golo] Kanté ended up at Manchester City and Chelsea, while United couldn’t get them. I found that very odd.’
Despite missing out on those names, United still invested heavily during Van Gaal’s first window in charge.
Angel Di Maria was signed for £59m from Real Madrid, but only stayed for one season in Manchester, while Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo were also brought in.
In a season which didn’t involve European involvement for the first time in 25 years, United finished fourth in the Premier League and reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
Van Gaal was in the United hot-seat for two years, before he was sacked after winning the 2016 FA Cup and replaced by Jose Mourinho.
Van Gaal did bring in Angel Di Maria (left) from Real Madrid, but he stayed for just one season
The full version of the interview with Louis van Gaal appears in the new issue of FourFourTwo – on sale on Wednesday, August 26.
Also in the 196 page double issue: every Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two and WSL team is reviewed and rated in our big season preview, Phil Foden talks about becoming the full time successor to David Silva at Manchester City.
And ask who can stop Liverpool from retaining their crown For an exclusive MailOnline subscription offer, which includes three issues of FourFourTwo for £3 and free download, go to: https://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/mailonline/