Manchester United might have had a bunch of superstars by now.
Manchester United, for being one of the biggest clubs worldwide, possess some history that includes various trophies, a number of jaw-dropping comebacks, a sublime list of well-established legends that once cherished the green turf wearing the coveted red shirt, and then there comes the Glazer family that brought 57 per cent — the majority of the club — from J.P. McManus and John Magnier in the year 2005.
And ever since the purchase, they have been facing the accusations of being toothless with their approaches towards the development of the Mancunian club. Yes, they might have enjoyed some sort of glory when Sir Alex Ferguson was at the helm. But, since the departure of the 13-time Premier League winner, Manchester United have never been the same, or it can be said that the inheritors may have never got that adequate backing they needed to put the club back to where it belongs.
With Sir Alex Ferguson retired, Manchester United hired another Scot in David Moyes, known as the “Chosen One” at that time, to guide United. The pressure and expectations of the job proved to be a burden for the new man, and he eventually got the sack next year.
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Then, the men at the top hired a proven manager, the one from whom United fan then anticipated to get the results of improvement and the results of the club going in the right direction, the one that has been on the front of every Sports outlet just because of his overambitious yet somewhat trustworthy claims these days.
Louis van Gaal was unveiled as the manager of Manchester United in 2014. Over his two-year stint at the Manchester-based club, he went on to sign the likes of Angel Di Maria, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Sergio Romero and Anthony Martial, making the spend of over £250 million.
However, the Dutchman himself think the signings were not enough, as he now has claimed, in his recently given interview to the FourFourTwo magazine, that he wanted the players like Robert Lewandowski, Neymar Jr, Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez, N’Golo Kanté, Sergio Ramos, and Mats Hummels. The former Manchester United boss claimed:
“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.
“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. 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.”
Despite having helped Manchester United to win the FA Cup in 2016, Van Gaal was given the marching orders by United’s board after what was really a torrid season in the club’s illustrated history.
“I inherited an old team that hadn’t been refreshed for some time, and wanted to rejuvenate the squad with players who would bring the same kind of quality,” Van Gaal added. “But to get the ones I wanted proved very difficult.
“I met with them [United’s hierarchy] in Brussels – clubs often organise talks in foreign cities so the media can’t track them down easily. The Glazers and Ed Woodward were there – they asked me about everything, including my vision and how I would want to organise things, and said they would meet my needs for new players.
It surprised me, even though I understand that clubs hold out for the highest fee because they know United are the richest in the world. At the same time, though, if you are the richest, you’d expect to get what you want.
“But it didn’t happen: we only got third, fourth or fifth-choice players.”
The last few lines, on bare eyes, seemed to be a dig at United’s owners, who have always showcased their reluctance while spending big to sign the best in the footballing world.
Likewise, United have not got a perfect start to summer transfer window this term, having made no signing as of yet. Should they end the window empty-handed, we could expect another turbulent season on the road for the Solskjaer’s men.
Do you think Van Gaal’s would have won UEFA Champions League had he given those demanded players?