Louis van Gaal has been speaking about his time as Manchester United manager, and the players he missed out on.
It may seem like a long time ago now, but Van Gaal spent two years at Old Trafford. Other than a brief positive spell in the spring of 2015, when United beat Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City with three excellent performances, the football produced under Van Gaal was largely forgettable and sterile. His possession-based play rankled many fans of the club, and his abrasive manner reportedly led to him getting on the wrong side of some players.
He was replaced in rather ruthless circumstances following the 2016 FA Cup final, which United won 2-1 against Crystal Palace. Immediately after the game, Van Gaal found out he would be sacked and succeeded by Jose Mourinho.
The consensus among fans appeared to be that it was the right decision to bring Van Gaal’s time at Old Trafford to an end. Of course, Van Gaal feels he could have turned things around at United, and he has been speaking about the transfers he almost completed.
The former Barcelona and Ajax coach said during a recent interview with Sport Bild in Germany that he wanted to sign Thomas Muller from Bayern Munich, and Mats Hummels, who was playing for Borussia Dortmund at the time, but has since joined Bayern.
Van Gaal suggests that he opted against pursuing a transfer for Hummels, but was keen on Muller. It’s fair to say that either player would have walked straight into United’s team at the time.
“I wanted to sign Hummels for Manchester United. But because at that time he was coming out of a poorer season, we didn’t do it in the end,” the Dutchman said.
“I can confirm that I wanted Muller. But there was nothing we could do. FC Bayern made it clear that they would not sell him.”
There have been reports that United submitted a bid worth €100m for Muller, and they may have happened under Van Gaal’s reign. The former United manager also criticised Mourinho for his treatment of Bastian Schweinsteiger, and took aim at the Red Devils’ focus on commercial interests.
“Manchester United who I last coached is a commercial club,” he said.
“Totally different to Bayern. The bosses, former players like Karl Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeness are former players who know what they are talking about. Football is the most important thing, not money like it is now at United. That’s why I love Bayern.”