Louis van Gaal has revealed that he wanted to sign Neymar, Robert Lewandowski and Sadio Mane, among others, during his time at Manchester United.
The Dutch manager replaced David Moyes as Man Utd boss in 2014 and was in charge at Old Trafford for two seasons.
Despite winning the FA Cup in 2015-16, Van Gaal was dismissed by the club, who instead turned to Jose Mourinho.
Having been out of management ever since, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss revealed that he tried to bring some major stars to Manchester during his time with the club, although he was unsuccessful with most.
‘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 Kanté.
‘I even tried to sign James Milner, who was already quite old but very multi-functional 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.’
Van Gaal, who said that Daniel Levy and Tottenham missed a chance to hire him prior to his Man Utd tenure, also revealed that he previously had talks with Liverpool over a sporting director role.
The Dutchman was never considered for a managerial role at Anfield, although he did meet with former Liverpool executive Ian Ayre to discuss a potential role before returned for his second stint as Netherlands national team boss in 2012.
‘Yes, their managing director [Ayre] came over to Portugal where I have a house, and we held lengthy talks – he even stayed on to have dinner,’ he said.
‘After he left, though, I never actually heard anything again. I don’t imagine he would have come out to Portugal if they weren’t serious about it, but later I heard I was apparently too arrogant or something. I don’t know.’
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