Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal confirms interest in Roma's Kevin Strootman but ignores Jose Mourinho jibe

Mourinho said signing Luke Shaw would've 'killed' Chelsea due to his wage demands

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed an interest in the Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman but insisted that he will need to assess how the 24-year-old recovers from a six-month lay-off before making a move for the Roma midfielder.

Van Gaal, whose side play Roma here today, had intended to take Stootman to Brazil with in his Netherlands World Cup squad but has only just begun light training after surgery on a cruciate knee injury he suffered in March.

The manager said that the length of the lay-off created uncertainty about him. “Strootman I can judge, but he is injured for more than six months,” the manager said. “We have to wait and see how he comes back. It is not easy to say how he comes back from injury, but we will wait and see.”

Van Gaal refused to discuss whether another Roma player, French-born Moroccan centre half Mehdi Benatia, might be a United target and also ducked the first missile lobbed in his direction from Chelsea Jose Mourinho, once a protégée of his.

Mourinho said that the wage demands of Chelsea-supporting Luke Shaw  had prevented him from signing the left back.


“If we pay to a 19-year-old boy what we were being asked for, to sign Luke Shaw, we are dead,” he said. “We would have killed our stability with financial fair play and killed the stability in our dressing room. Van Gaal replied: “I don't have to answer, I don't think I have to discuss things the media. It’s better to discuss it with Jose.”

Van Gaal, who confirmed that Rafael da Silva will miss today’s game with a groin strain, declared the biggest adjustment for the squad he has taken over is their learning to play more cerebrally.

Asked if British players found adjusting to his fast-moving passing game harder than his new charges at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, he said: “Maybe Barcelona was different at the time, but Bayern have always played 4-4-2 and I introduced the system they are playing now and it was a different thing for the players. The important thing is that I am training the players not in the legs, but in their brain. Brainpower. That is important thing. I say things how they are. It is my direct character.”

Read more: Manchester United to honour cheap kit price after website error
Louis van Gaal is a YouTube hit with training antics
Angel Di Maria set to chose between Man Utd and PSG

Van Gaal criticised the decision to stage the match at 2pm local time, when temperatures are likely to be fierce, resembling the furnace at Fortaleza where his Dutch players beat Mexico in the World Cup last 16. He made the unusual move of naming two players – Tom Cleverley and young left back Tyler Blackett – who will play the full 90 minutes.

“It is unbelievable that we play at two o’clock,” Van Gaal said. “We will adapt to the situation because all the players will play for 45 minutes except Cleverley. “For the players, it is very hard and I hope I can persuade the referee to have a drinks break as I did in Fortaleza. We have sports science department and it shall be done very well with the conditions, especially those players who will play 45 minutes.

Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal

The manager clearly believes that there is work still be done to bring United’s players to the standard he demands. “This morning was not a good session, it was 11 v 11 and we simulated an opponent and it wasn’t so good,” he said. “Tonight we saw set-play, yellow [bibs] were better than red [shirts]. They make the pitch big and then make it very compact when they lose the ball. I see progression every day, but also not good things. We are here to improve, though.”

The Dutchman was at the hub of training once again last night, blowing a whistle to command players when to deliver crosses and corners. There was less voluble criticism, with only Chris Smalling getting a public rebuke, and part of the session involved hi preparing for the penalty shoot-out which will come tonight of the sides are level. “Anyone want to take a penalty?” he asked. All the players put their spot kicks past Ben Amos.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power