Jose Mourinho has criticised the transfer dealings of Manchester United predecessor Louis van Gaal, saying there is “no chance” he would have sold the likes of Angel Di Maria, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez.
Mourinho succeeded Van Gaal last summer after the Dutchman spent two largely fraught seasons at United. Van Gaal managed to return United to the Uefa Champions League via fourth place in the Premier League in his first season, but the club missed out on this year’s competition due to a fifth-place finish in his final campaign, although he did depart as an FA Cup winner.
During Van Gaal’s time in charge, United spent approximately £290 million (Dh1.32 billion) on new players. However, of those signings, only Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Anthony Martial are regular features in Mourinho teams, Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian are used as squad players, while Bastian Schweinsteiger was immediately banished to the reserves.
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Argentine playmaker Di Maria, who started brightly following his arrival from Real Madrid in 2014 but struggled for form and fitness in the latter part of the season, was sold after one year, while England forward Welbeck was allowed to leave for Arsenal during Van Gaal’s first transfer window.
Other notable departures during the Van Gaal era include Mexican striker Hernandez, who has since gone on to shine for Bayer Leverkusen, Nigeria winger Wilfried Zaha, who is excelling since returning to Crystal Palace, Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa, and Portuguese winger Nani. Additionally, the loan signing of Colombian forward Radamel Falcao, who cost United £7m plus his £265,000 a week wages, proved a disaster.
Meanwhile, of the expensive arrivals under Van Gaal, both Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay, who cost a combined £60m, have been sold by Mourinho after failing to make significant impacts for United.
Speaking after United booked their place in the Europa League quarter-finals with a 2-1 aggregate win over Russian side Rostov, Mourinho made his thoughts clear on Van Gaal’s transfer business.
“I would never have sold Di Maria, Chicharito (Hernandez), Danny Welbeck — never, no chance,” Mourinho said.
“I found a sad club. Manchester United sold players that I would never sell, bought players that I would never buy.”
Since arriving at United, Mourinho has overseen more than £150m in transfer spending as defender Eric Bailly, midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and world record signing Paul Pogba all arrived at Old Trafford, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic also arrived on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain.
However, despite his own large financial outlay, Mourinho does not believe United are anywhere close to being the all-conquering sides created by Alex Ferguson, who in 27 years won 13 Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues and five FA Cups.
“We are not ready to be a dominant force. We are not ready to try to win everything,” Mourinho told the BBC.
“Because of the nature of the club, and of myself, we are ready to fight for every game, every point.
“But there is a space between the general ambition of such a giant club and what we are in reality.”
* The National staff
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