How Man Utd's XI may have looked if Louis van Gaal succeeded with all his transfers

West Ham United v Manchester United - The Emirates FA Cup Sixth Round Replay

Say what you like about Jose Mourinho, Manchester United fans certainly don't miss the regime of Louis van Gaal.

The Dutchman admittedly fared better than his predecessor David Moyes, but his two seasons at Old Trafford lacked any substantial progress and were blighted by a terrible brand of football.

He briefly returned the club to the Champions League after his debut season, only to lose it a year later and with just an FA Cup victory in the way of a consolation. 

Although there were some positives from his tenure - note the discovery of Anthony Martial - few supporters were sad to see him sacked in the summer of 2015.

Now, Jose Mourinho stalks the technical area at Old Trafford and although the Red Devils are still waiting for their first title challenge since Ferguson's retirement, improvements are being made.

Van Gaal's 'what if' Man Utd XI

But, had things gone a little differently, could Van Gaal have staged a raid on the league title?

It's an interesting question and one that could perhaps be answered by looking at his transfer activity.

Van Gaal certainly spent his faire share of cash at the 'Theatre of Dreams' yet there were also a number of near misses and failed attempts.

That considered, here is what Van Gaal's United starting XI could have looked if the transfer window worked out perfectly for him. Check it out:

GK - David de Gea

Why would Van Gaal need a new goalkeeper? De Gea was the club's player of the year during both of the manager's seasons at the club and is now arguably the world's finest shot-stopper.

Manchester United v Liverpool - Premier League

LB - Luke Shaw

A signing that Van Gaal actually pulled off and he made Shaw the most expensive teenager in world football in the process. He accumulated 20 appearances in his debut season before a leg break ruined his second campaign.

CB - Mats Hummels

Here's where the 'what could have been?' really sets in. During an interview in February, he reflected: “I wanted to sign Hummels for Manchester United. But because at that time he was coming out of a poorer season, we didn’t do it in the end."

A poor season maybe, but he was still a world champion at the time and later signed for Bayern Munich.


CB - Chris Smalling

Across Van Gaal's two seasons at United, he selected Smalling at centre-back more than anybody else.

RB - Antonio Valencia

Started to make a name for himself at right-back during the closing months of the Van Gaal era, the Ecuadorian is now a staple in the United team and has inherited the captain's armband.

CM - Cesc Fabregas

That's right, two consecutive summers United could have signed the Barcelona midfielder but this time he moved onto Chelsea. According to the Telegraph, the club offered to recoup their interest in Fabregas but Van Gaal was unsure about the move.


CM - Toni Kroos

Ouch. According to the Daily Mail, United had gone as far as agreeing a deal with Bayern Munich only for Van Gaal to carry out a u-turn with Kroos eventually signing for Real Madrid.

The decision came in spite of the fact Paul Scholes had noted that very summer: “The first player I’d bring in is Toni Kroos."

CM - Angel di Maria

Not a natural central-midfielder, admittedly, but Van Gaal signed the Real Madrid player in the summer of 2014 and had the option to play him across the board. Sadly, he didn't reach the heights he could done and was sold on a year later.

West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United - Premier League

LF - Robin van Persie

Again, a few tactical compromises for the sake of the team, Van Persie entered his final season at United upon his compatriot's arrival and remained lethal despite a slight drop in form.

ST - Robert Lewandowski

Another confirmed transfer target by Van Gaal himself, Lewandowski was struggling to adapt at Bayern Munich at the time and would have been a major coup for United. "I also wanted to train Lewandowski and wanted to bring him to Manchester United,” he told Bild in May.

“The price was not a problem for Manchester United, but Bayern did not want to let him go.”


RF - Thomas Muller

Yet another Bundesliga player that United missed out on during his reign and a forward who looks perfectly suited to the Premier League. Van Gaal revealed in February: “I can confirm that I wanted Muller. But there was nothing we could do. FC Bayern made it clear that they would not sell him.”

The bench would have been pretty remarkable, too.

Sub's bench

Potential substitutes: Sergio Romero, Dante, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Radamel Falcao.

Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League

Obviously, no club truly has 100% luck in the transfer window but it certainly does make you wonder.

Surely even with Van Gaal pulling the strings, it would be difficult to play boring football with a starting XI as packed with world-class talent as this. If only. 

Do you think Van Gaal would have won the league with this team? Have your say in the comments section below.

News Now - Sport News