Neymar, Robert Lewandowski, Sadio Mane, Sergio Ramos, and more – the crazy team Manchester United could have h

Neymar, Robert Lewandowski, Sadio Mane, Sergio Ramos, and more – the crazy team Manchester United could have h thumbnail

Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, things haven’t quite gone to plan for Manchester United – but Louis van Gaal has revealed it could have been a lot different. The Dutchman took over from Fergie-successor David Moyes in 2014 and had a star-studded wish list as he plotted their renaissance. Getty – Contributor Fair to say Van Gaal was a little worse for wear that night! Champions League winner Robert Lewandowski was at the head of it, along with Neymar and subsequent Liverpool hero Sadio Mane. Real Madrid superstar Sergio Ramos was set to head a defensive overhaul at Old Trafford which, in the end, had Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, and Jonny Evans at its heart for the 2014/15 campaign. He told FourFourTwo: “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,” he said. “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. Lewandowski and Mane could have ended up at Old Trafford had Van Gaal got his way ‘It’s disgusting’ – Darren Bent questions why Raheem Sterling and Harry Maguire are represented differently in the media “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.” Instead, Van Gaal got Luke Shaw, Angel di Maria, Ander Herrera, Daley Blind, and Marcos Rojo. Getty Images Di Maria was a Premier League flop with Manchester United United crept to a fourth-place finish, earning them Champions League football but a year later he was sacked after finishing his second season in fifth – level on points with Man City and winning the FA Cup. It could have been so much better had the Dutchman got his outrageous way. Get all the latest Manchester United transfer news here How Man United could have looked under Van Gaal in 2014/15 Obviously Van Gaal couldn’t have signed them – you can’t even get them all in a functioning team! The front three would have been both quick and lethal with Man and Neymar out wide and Lewandowski through the middle. Muller would have had free reign, of course, to create chaos, but a double pivot of Milner and Kante would have provided a sturdy spine. Ramos and Hummels would have been a sensational partnership in defence with Shaw and Antonio Valencia still in the side at full-back. It could have been wild in the north west. WHERE WERE VAN GAAL’S TARGETS IN 2014? Robert Lewandowski Available on a free transfer that summer, the Pole left Borussia Dortmund for Bayern Munich. Gonzalo Higuain The Argentine striker was coming off the back of a fine first season with Napoli having scored 17 Serie A goals. Neymar After one season at Barcelona Van Gaal already wanted to take him to Old Trafford. Sadio Mane The Senegalese ace was on his way to Southampton £12m following two years in Austria with RB Salzburg. Riyad Mahrez Back in 2014, he had just helped Leicester earn promotion to the Premier League. Thomas Muller He’d just had a sensational season with Bayern Munich where he netted 26 times in all competitions, Muller won the World Cup that summer too. N’Golo Kante The French World Cup winner still hadn’t made it over the to the Premier League and was about to play out his second season with Caen in Ligue 1. James Milner Not that he’d have moved to Old Trafford given his Leeds connection but he would also have had to cross the Manchester divide given he was playing for Man City. Sergio Ramos After a ninth campaign with Real Madrid the Spaniard couldn’t be signed and the Red Devils tried again ahead of the 2015/16 season too. Mats Hummels Also a World Cup winner, the centre-back played for another two years with Borussia Dortmund before signing for Bayern Munich,

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