Van Gaal backs Woodward over transfer misses
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said on Friday that he had total confidence in executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to deliver the goods for the club in the transfer market.
United were this week seemingly beaten by Chelsea in the pursuit of Barcelona winger Pedro Rodriguez, who joined the Premier League champions in a £21.2 million ($33.2 million, 30 million euros) deal.
United have also failed in an attempt to lure defender Sergio Ramos away from Real Madrid, while Southampton are adamant that they will rebuff any offer for forward Sadio Mane.
But United have successfully completed deals for Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Matteo Darmian, Morgan Schneiderlin and goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
The quintet have helped United make a 100 percent start in the Premier League and beat Club Brugge 3-1 in the first leg of their Champions League play-off.
Van Gaal says that Woodward is capable of bringing the players he wants to Old Trafford and dismissed any suggestions of a rift between the pair.
“I have the idea that you want to separate Ed Woodward with me,” the Dutchman told his weekly press conference. “No, never. Every day I am updated by him and I trust him.
“I don’t think they (the fans) have to doubt Ed Woodward because he has proven already for many years he is the right person on the right spot.”
United expressed an interest in signing Pedro, only for Chelsea to conclude a deal for the 28-year-old.
United subsequently intimated that their interest in the Spain international had cooled and Van Gaal said that he was not disappointed to have missed out on signing him.
“I think when we want Pedro it was not any problem because there was a clause in his contract,” Van Gaal told reporters.
“It was the easiest transfer. I have said before what we are doing is guiding a process and in that process we make decisions.”
– Schweinsteiger could start –
He added: “You can write what you want, but we cannot say what we want. That is the difference. I have the responsibility of protecting the interests of my club and my players.
“If you ask me if Pedro is fitting the profile (of player that United want), I cannot lie; I say yes. But I didn’t say I am interested in the player. That is the difference.
“He is fast and he is creative. That is why I understand the question (of whether he fits the club’s profile). I don’t want to let known my strategy of players.”
Van Gaal was unwilling to discuss reports that United have now switched their sights to Southampton’s Senegalese winger Mane.
“I cannot answer that question neither because I cannot interfere,” he said. “I don’t want to interfere. It’s for Ed Woodward doing the things and he does it very well, I think.”
United will look to extend their winning start at home to Newcastle United on Saturday, when Schweinsteiger could make his full debut.
The former Bayern Munich midfielder, 31, has been used as a substitute to date, but could replace vice-captain Michael Carrick in a midfield holding role to gain his first start in the Premier League.
“It’s a matter of time,” said Van Gaal. “Maybe it shall happen tomorrow (Saturday). You never know. I think he can still do better because when you are not fit enough then it is difficult to show your highest level.
“But I think it’s also a matter of time and we have seen a solution in rotating our (second) captain, Michael Carrick, with Schweinsteiger.
“I think it’s a very good solution because we can spare them both for the big moments.”