Louis van Gaal has spoken about the promises Ed Woodward and the Glazers made him before he was appointed Manchester United boss.
Van Gaal took over at Old Trafford in 2014, spending two seasons with the Red Devils and gaining success in the FA Cup.
The Dutchman has previously spoken about his transfer targets while with United, often failing to get his preferred options.
And now he has revealed that excutive vice chairman Woodward and owners the Glazers had initially said they would meet his needs.
“I met with them in Brussels – clubs often organise talks in foreign cities so the media can’t track them down easily,” Van Gaal told FourFourTwo.
“The Glazers and Ed Woodward were there – they asked me about everything, including my vision and how I want to organise things, and said they would meet my needs for new players.
“I inherited an old team that hadn’t been refreshed for some time, and wanted to rejuvenate the squad with players who would bring the same kind of quality. But to get the ones I wanted proved very difficult.
“It surprised me, even though I understand that clubs hold out for the highest fee because they know United are the richest in the world.
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“At the same time, though, if you are the richest, you’d expect to get what want.
“But it didn’t happen: we only got third-, fourth- or fifth-choice players.”
Van Gaal added 14 new names to his United squad but there were plenty of others he wanted.
“I wanted Robert Lewandowski, but when this proved difficult I tried to get Gonzalo Higuain instead,” he added. “Before I had arrived, I also spoke with the board about Neymar.
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“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 multi-functional 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.”
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