Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has launched a tirade at the Old Trafford club regarding the broken transfer promises during his time as manager of the club. Looking back at the players that were signed, you can see what his complaints were about. United signed some expensive players during the period of the clubs history.
The Dutchman was sacked days after winning the clubs first major honour post-Sir Alex Ferguson, the Emirates FA Cup, two years after arriving at the Theatre of Dreams, with one-year remaining on his contract. He is focusing on United targeting ‘seventh-choice’ players during his time as the manager of the club.
Despite winning the FA Cup at the club, Van Gaal was only able to guide United to a fourth and a fifth place finish in the Premier League, which was an improvement after finishing seventh in the season of David Moyes. It was a period when the club seemed miserly in respect of transfers, especially with the players linked to the club at that time.
In Van Gaal’s first summer, Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera had arrived at the club whilst the Dutchman was still managing the Netherlands at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria and Daley Blind then followed with Radamel Falcao coming to the club on loan just before the closure of the summer transfer window.
The following summer, which saw the departure of Di Maria, at a loss, saw Memphis Depay, Sergio Romero, Matteo Darmian, Morgan Schnneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Anthony Martial arrive at the club. Out of all of those players, only Shaw, Rojo, Romero and Martial still remain at the club. Van Gaal, 68, spoke to Voetball International, saying:
“Manchester United didn’t have the quality needed to win the Premier League. They had an ageing squad, with ten players over 30 and five over 35.
“So I told the club I wanted to rejuvenate the side, and said which players I wanted to sign.
“But I didn’t get a single one of them. I ended up having to look in a different category, and had to adjust my limits.
“I didn’t expect something like this at the richest club in the world. They had a turnover of £600million, yet couldn’t buy the players they needed.
“You have to buy your first-choice players, not your seventh choices.
“Of course selling clubs also think about United: ‘If you’re so rich, you’ve got to pay the top price for our player.’ That was what happened in transfers.
“As a result I had to make do with players who were seventh or eighth on my wish list.
“We still paid too much for them – and I as the coach ended up being criticised and judged.
“When I left United I demanded they paid me every penny they owed me, as they had not kept their promises.
“The owners and directors had backed my vision for the club, which I set out in great detail. It is the same as I did with Barcelona and Bayern.
“I prepare discussions like this very well, and they often take long. I want everything to be clear.
“I interview the club’s people,, rather than vice versa. If we reach agreement, and they have the financial means, I spell out which players I want to sign.
“But if they then don’t deliver what they promised, they have to pay.
“Despite all the disappointments at Manchester United, we still won the FA Cup.
“What I did with United was the greatest achievement of my career.”
At the time, supporters were quick to blame everything on the manager but looking back to my mindset at the time, it was clear that the club had a level of accountability for the problems that United faced. Despite spending around £300 million over two summer transfer windows, the quality of the said players was not quite there.
United are now seeing that signing players with inflated transfer fees and massive wages was not the correct business at the time, seemingly throwing money at the problem and expecting the money to do the brunt of the work. I have never seen bags of money running around a football pitch. Granted, Van Gaal had a lot of the responsibility too.
But, the club, who on hiring him had bought into his ideas and plans for the club, seemingly sold him short with miserly business and failing to sign the targets at the top of the spectrum of the manager’s transfer list. Only now are we seeing the club back a manager, the fourth one after Sir Alex Ferguson and probably the best man for the job now.