Former Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has revealed that Neymar was among the players he wanted to sign while at the Old Trafford helm.
Dutchman Van Gaal moved to United after leading the Netherlands in the 2014 World Cup. However, despite winning the FA Cup, the Red Devils sacked him after two seasons.
Van Gaal has previously revealed how United denied him the opportunity to go after his top targets.
He claimed his club were happy to let him settle for targets seventh or eighth on his shortlist.
Speaking in his latest interview, however, the 69-year-old has divulged the details of his array of top targets including James Milner – who would later sign for Liverpool.
“I wanted Robert Lewandowski, but when this proved difficult I tried to get Gonzalo Higuain instead,” he 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.”
Van Gaal also revealed he wanted some of Europe’s top names in defence and found it “odd” that United were never able to follow through with such big-name signings.
“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 Kante ended up at Manchester City and Chelsea, while United couldn’t get them. I found that very odd.”
WOODWARD IN THE MAN UTD FIRING LINE
Van Gaal has also previously revealed how he blames United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward for his sacking.
Woodward has also received criticism from Patrice Evra, who has described the breakdown in relations between the pair.
The executive vice-chairman plays an important role in all aspects of the club, including transfer negotiations.