Van Gaal: ‘I wanted Muller, Higuain, Neymar and Kante at Manchester United’

Louis van Gaal has revealed he submitted a shortlist full of world-class players he wanted to sign while he was the manager of Manchester United. The Dutch coach joined the Red Devils in 2014 and was given a major €200m transfer budget and he requested his club to make major signings that first summer.

“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 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 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.”

He added: “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 would end up staying two seasons at United before he was replaced by Jose Mourinho.