Ralf Rangnick, acting Manchester United boss, is nearing the end of his tenure as manager and has opted to reveal some boardroom secrets before leaving the Old Trafford dugout.
The German revealed during his press conference ahead of the Red Devils’ clash with Brighton & Hove Albion that he wanted a number of high-profile players to join the club during the January transfer window, but was told by the United hierarchy that none were available may be .
That was clearly not the case, as one talent Rangnick was keen to bring to Manchester was Colombia international Luis Diaz from Porto. Instead, the tricky winger opted for Merseyside and has lit up the Premier League since arriving after joining Liverpool for an initial fee of around £37million.
“The answer back then was no, there wasn’t a player on the market who could really help us – there were a few, Diaz who is at Liverpool now, (Julian) Alvarez who will be at Manchester City in the summer, (Dusan) Vlahovic, who was still at Fiorentina at the time, those are just three of them that come to mind now,” said Rangnick.
This isn’t the first time United have ignored advice given to them and missed out on a world-class player as a result. It’s another damning indictment against those who have run the club in recent years that the Red Devils have seen so many goals join opposing sides.
With Rangnick’s comments fresh in the memory, Mirror Football took a look at six other players United could have bought only to see a deal fail.
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The technically gifted Portugal international is a thoroughly modern full-back with remarkable skills on the ball and a tendency to contribute in attack. Cancelo, who currently plays for Manchester City, could very well have featured in the United Reds had the club listened to the advice of one of their very own legends in Gary Neville.
“I had him at Valencia as a very young player but you could just see exceptional talent,” he said on his Sky Sports podcast. “I’ve called back to England – you can imagine which club I’m speaking at – [saying]’If you ever took a young player, you would take him.
Phil Neville was his brother’s assistant in Spain and is said to have told former executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to sign Cancelo, but United were reluctant and Juventus benefited after a short loan spell at Inter Milan.
It is only a matter of weeks that Thiago enjoyed the freedom of the Anfield pitch against a United side while being humiliated by fierce rivals Liverpool. While the Spain international held a midfield masterclass on Merseyside, some at United wished they’d made more of an effort to sign Thiago when the chance came in 2013.
With Thiago’s impending departure from Barcelona, confidence that he would end up at Old Trafford was so high that David de Gea wrote ‘See you in Manchester’ on a EURO U21 match ball after Thiago scored a hat-trick in the final had.
Another United legend at Rio Ferdinand claimed the Spaniard called him to organize his own move to Manchester. “Before Thiago left Barcelona, he called me,” the former England international told his YouTube show Vibe with FIVE. “I don’t speak to Thiago, I don’t know him but David De Gea gave him my number.
“‘He called me and said, ‘Rio, I’d like to come to Man Utd. Can you talk to someone?’ So I talked to the people in the club [David] Moyes and Woodward. I mentioned it.” He went on to reveal that his tip was quickly brushed aside by those above him, explaining how he was told: “We’re already on the line with a couple of other signings. It’s good.'”
Thiago ended up at Bayern Munich where he spent six years before joining the Reds.
The story goes that United icon Sir Alex Ferguson decided one of the best wingers of his generation wasn’t good enough after watching him for just 45 minutes. The two-time Champions League coach watched Ribery in action while the Frenchman was still playing at Marseille as they faced Bolton in the UEFA Cup.
Ferguson was accompanied by Tony Blair’s former head of communications, Alastair Campbell, for the game, and Campbell recalled the night in his published diaries. “Alex was watching Marseille winger Franck Ribery but decided at half-time that he wasn’t good enough for United.”
A year later, Ribery joined German giants Bayern Munich for a relatively small fee of £25million and won all the major accolades at his disposal, including the Champions League title.
Henderson, one of the more notorious failed signings in United’s recent history, did not end up at Old Trafford for a particularly bizarre reason. The England star is regularly seen at Anfield skippering Liverpool, where he has won the Premier League, Champions League and this year’s Carabao Cup.
Henderson was bought by Sunderland and had many admirers for his performances at the Stadium of Light, but Ferguson revealed in his autobiography why he decided against a move to become the future Reds captain.
“We watched Jordan Henderson a lot and Steve Bruce was unfailingly smitten with him,” he wrote. “On the other hand, we noticed that Henderson walks on his knees with a straight back, while the modern footballer walks on his hips. We thought his gait might cause him problems later in his career.”
Although his time at Real Madrid was far from successful, Hazard lit up the Premier League for six glorious years as he cemented his status as a Chelsea legend. Before his move to Stamford Bridge, Hazard helped inspire Lille to their Ligue 1 title and as a result attracted the interest of many clubs – United included.
However, the Red Devils opted to sign Borussia Dortmund playmaker Shinji Kagawa instead. Ferguson went on to lament the kind of money Chelsea paid for the Belgian while hinting at another failed deal.
“There’s a limit to what you think is a good signing for United,” Ferguson explained during Kagawa’s reveal. “I see some values in players, like Hazard for example. For me it was a lot of money. He’s a good player but £34m?
“What we’re seeing anyway, the climate for buying these top players – not just the transfer fees, the salaries, the agents’ fees – is now just getting ridiculous. In the Hazard deal, Chelsea paid the agent £6million [Samir] Nasri’s situation was the same. It’s all about what you think is valuable to a player.
“I’m not at all jealous of those deals. We gave Hazard a value way below what they talked about.” Hazard won the Premier League twice, as well as the Europa League and FA Cup, while Kagawa only lasted two seasons at Old Trafford.
The Reign of Louis van Gaal
The eccentric Dutchman won the FA Cup at Old Trafford but has since expressed frustration at not being able to sign anyone from his lengthy transfer wish list.
“I wanted Robert Lewandowski, but when that was proving difficult, I tried to get Gonzalo Higuain instead,” Van Gaal told FourFourTwo. “Before I arrived I also spoke to the board about Neymar. When you’re at United you have to think big. He was also interesting for the club in terms of shirt sales and I wanted fast wingers.
“That’s why I also tried to get Sadio Mané and Riyad Mahrez. Thomas Muller was also on my wish list and in central midfield I wanted N’Golo Kanté. I even tried to sign James Milner, who was already quite old , but very versatile and possessed leadership qualities.
“For defence, I wanted Sergio Ramos and Mats Hummels because our back wasn’t the strongest. Those were my top targets but we didn’t get any of them. I don’t know why, because.” As a coach, I wasn’t involved in any negotiations. After my departure, players like Mahrez and Kanté ended up at Manchester City and Chelsea while United couldn’t get them. I found that very strange.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/manutd-transfers-diaz-snub-rangnick-26901007 6 transfers Man Utd snubbed as Luis Diaz deal comes back to haunt them