Man United: Three Players Van Gaal Should have Kept


It’s fair to say that Louis van Gaal had a bit of a scattergun approach when it came to transfers during his stint in charge of Manchester United

In total he brought in sixteen new signings and released or sold forty players in his two seasons at the helm. 

Some of the players that left during those years raised more than a few eyebrows. I’ve decided to pick the three that Jose Mourinho could be doing with in his squad today but I’d give notable mentions to Darren Fletcher and Jonny Evans who didn’t quite make the cut. 


The Argentine international arrived as a Champions League winner with a British record transfer fee of £59.7m.

At both Real Madrid and with Argentina, Di Maria looked fantastic on either wing. Yet when he appeared for United, Louis van Gaal decided to move the player around to play in various positions including as a wing-back and as a deep-laying midfielder. Yet the Dutch coach never regularly played him out on the wing, where he’s at his most effective. So the United faithful didn’t really get to see Angel at his best in the 2014/15 season.

That being said, Di Maria still produced more assists (ten) for United than any of his teammates that season.

Last term in Ligue 1, after he was sold for around £44.6m to PSG, Angel Di Maria would create eighteen assists and score ten goals. In Paris he managed to strike up a very decent understanding with Man Utd new-boy Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

So you could just imagine how well he’d be doing this season with the Swede at Old Trafford? Before people tell me that his sale helped the club in signing Anthony Martial, well I’ll just point out that they could have had both Martial and Di Maria, and sacrificed the Memphis Depay signing!

Javier Hernandez: 

Often hailed for his great goalscoring instincts by Sir Alex Ferguson, poor Chicharito could never convince Van Gaal that he was worthy of a spot in his United team.

Last season no Man United star managed to score twenty times, yet the little Mexican struck twenty-six times for new employers Bayer Leverkusen and that included five goals in the Champions League group stage. His performances in Germany saw him win the Bundesliga player of the month award four times and he was also selected for the Bundesliga team of the season!

The twenty-eight year old has started this term in similar fashion scoring seven goals in his first eight outings for Leverkusen. The forward’s heroics saw him linked with big money moves to Arsenal and Liverpool earlier in the year.

A potent goalscorer who probably just needed a chance under Van Gaal and who would be an ideal alternative for Jose during this campaign if he was still around.


The Brazilian right-back has never been replaced at Old Trafford. Antonio Valencia will give his all but he’s clearly not a great full-back, while Matteo Darmian’s relationship with Mourinho seems beyond repair.

In 2012-13, Fergie’s final season in charge, Rafael looked to be well on his way in successfully replacing Gary Neville as United’s stalwart right-back. But injuries and changes in manager hampered his progress. His commitment was never in doubt and he was well liked in the dressing room but that wasn’t enough to save his Man Utd career. Louis van Gaal has always had a prickly past when it comes to Brazilian footballers.

Had a decent first year in France with Lyon last term and has started brightly this campaign.

Just needed that warm arm around his shoulder that Ferguson used to give him, but unfortunately Van Gaal just gave him the cold shoulder. Could’ve saved the club a fortune had he been given a proper chance to prove himself again in Manchester.

One Response to “Man United: Three Players Van Gaal Should have Kept”

  1. Absolutely right. Was sickened by the sale of those brilliant players. Very poor reading by the mediocre dutch. Not worth managing a big team

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