Former Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has bemoaned the club’s transfer strategy during his time in charge, claiming he was forced to settle for targets who were “seventh or eighth” on his wishlist.
The Dutchman was in charge at Old Trafford between July 2014 and June 2016, guiding the Red Devils to a fourth placed finish in 2014/15 but missed out on Champions League qualification in his second year as United finished fifth, which led to him being replaced by Jose Mourinho.
After United’s poor season under David Moyes, Van Gaal was appointed in an attempt to quickly reinstate the club as a competitive force in both the Premier League and in Europe, however his time in Manchester is looked back on as somewhat of a failure with the North West side way off the pace in each campaign.
But Van Gaal has now argued that he was never given a realistic chance of ensuring United were competing for the biggest honours, claiming he inherited an ageing squad and missed out on the top transfer targets he identified to turn their fortunes around.
In an interview with Voetball International, cited on Goal, the now retired coach said: “Manchester United did not have the qualities to become champions and had an outdated selection with 10 players over 30, five over 35.
“So I told them I was going to rejuvenate and which players should come. I didn’t get one of those.
“Then you end up in a different segment and as a coach you have to push your boundaries. You don’t expect that at the richest club in the world.
“A turnover of £600 million and can’t buy the players you need. You should buy number one and not number seven.
“Of course, the selling club also thinks: ‘If you are so rich, you also have to pay the highest amount imaginable for a player’. That was what happened with transfers.
“Then you have to do with the numbers seven or eight on your wish list. For which you actually pay way too much money, on which the coach is judged and convicted.”
The likes of Angel Di Maria, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay all arrived at the club during Van Gaal’s spell as the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager spent in excess of £300million on incomings.
Of the players he signed only Shaw, Martial and Sergio Romero are still at United, although ‘keeper Romero is expected to leave in the next transfer window.