Van Gaal’s spell was the start of United’s free-spending era; the club were in desperate need of experience after the loss of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Ryan Giggs.
The Dutchman could hardly claim to not be backed, considering the record levels of spending he was allowed to oversee, breaking the club’s transfer record handsomely in the process with the signing of Angel Di Maria. The expensive loan signing of Radamel Falcao was supplemented by the capture of Bastian Schweinsteiger. These experienced players were supplemented by the costly signings of Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind, Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin, while Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw were also brought to the club although there is some debate about whether or not they were sanctioned transfers from the experienced coach.
If not, that only serves as further fuel for those who have extreme reservations about his transfer dealings – almost all of those mentioned players are gone or surely destined to leave the club this summer, as Jose Mourinho continues to rebuild the club and as his own reputation suffers for the gross over-spending which came before him.
However, if he had his way, Van Gaal would have spent even more, and has claimed that he wasn’t sufficiently backed in the market. “I asked many, many times for players of the highest quality. But I didn’t get the players I wanted,’ said Van Gaal. ‘I’m disappointed in certain human beings at United — and they know I’m disappointed. I am an emotional guy, I say too much in interviews. I am always authentic. You see what you see with me.”
Clearly for Van Gaal, £245m wasn’t a sufficient budget to get the players he wanted. He famously vetoed a scheduled signing of Toni Kroos while there was talk he wanted to bring Thomas Muller to United. It is difficult to envisage a scenario where Van Gaal would have been successful after losing the dressing room in December 2015 and while there is plenty of sympathy to be felt with the way the club handled his departure, Van Gaal is fooling no-one by suggesting he wasn’t backed.
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