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The 69-year-old legendary Dutchman left the Netherlands after finishing in third place in the 2014 World Cup to become United manager.
Van Gaal, who succeeded David Moyes at United, brought in the likes of Angel Di Maria, Anthony Martial, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Memphis Depay during his time at Old Trafford.
However, the former United manager had big ambitions at the Premier League club and wanted to target world-class talent like N'Golo Kante and Sergio Ramos in the transfer window.
Van Gaal 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.
"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.
"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."
Van Gaal spent two seasons at United and led the Red Devils to a top-four finish in his first season in charge.
United then slipped to a fifth-place finish the following season, but the Red Devils managed to capture the FA Cup under Van Gaal's tenure.
The former Ajax and Barcelona head coach was dismissed after his FA Cup success and was replaced by Jose Mourinho at United.
Van Gaal called it time on an illustrious managing career in 2017, saying that he had "no ambition to be a technical director or a TV pundit."
Featured Image Credit: PA
Topics: Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Ramos, Riyad Mahrez, James Milner, Louis van Gaal, Football, Manchester United, Robert Lewandowski, Mats Hummels, Neymar, Thomas Muller, Premier League, England, Sadio Mane, N’Golo Kante
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