Manchester United has made a number of blunders in recent years, but maybe none have been as widely regretted within the club as the summertime of 2014 and 2015 when they put their faith in their forthright Dutch coach and paid a high price.
Louis van Gaal has been vocal about the players he wanted to sign for Manchester United, such as Neymar, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Sadio Mane, N’Golo Kante, and Sergio Ramos, but has been less forthcoming about the many busts he actually acquired.
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United signed players like Morgan Schneiderlin, Matteo Darmian, and Marcos Rojo despite their lack of suitability for the position.
But the most exciting topic of conversation now that Manchester United is trusting another Dutch manager with a strong voice and very clear sense of how he wants to do things is Van Gaal’s acquisition of Daley Blind, Memphis Depay, and Angel Di Maria.
United’s fans will be hoping that Erik ten Hag does not repeat Louis van Gaal’s mistakes as they watch him follow what appears to be a similar path for the time being. ten Hag has gotten off to a good start as United’s manager, but the achievement of his scheduled rebuild will rely heavily as much on who he helps bring in as his advancement on the training field.
Di Maria never gave the sense that he wanted to come to United, and he was gone in less than a year after being effectively pushed out at Real Madrid only 3 months after being voted man-of-the-match in the Champions League final victory against Atletico Madrid in May 2014.
In contrast to the clash of personalities between Van Gaal and Di Maria, the Holland winger has experience working effectively under Ten Hag at Ajax, which could lead to his recruitment by Manchester United. Man United has a history of overspending on South American players, and its recent acquisitions of Casemiro and Antony set new highs.
United manager Erik ten Hag was adamant about signing a flamboyant winger, therefore the club made an offer to ten Hag’s former team, Ajax, of close to £86 million. Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson regularly scoured the Brazilian market for talent, and former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho approved the transfer of midfielder Fred.