Louis van Gaal says Manchester United need to sign a world-class "creative" player, but insists that Cristiano Ronaldo will not join the club this summer.
United have been heavily linked with a move for the Real Madrid superstar in recent weeks, with Van Gaal hinting at a “surprise signing” in attack.
United have embarked on a major summer recruitment drive, acquiring Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Matteo Darmian and Memphis Depay, but Van Gaal is keen to add creativity to his squad.
Having spent in excess of £70 million already thus far, however, Van Gaal concedes that former club hero Ronaldo is out of his reach.
“We can use much more creativity,” he told reporters in the United States. “We have Wayne [Rooney], [Juan] Mata, [Memphis] Depay, [Ashley] Young, [Adnan] Januzaj, [James] Wilson, [Ander] Herrera. Young has had a fantastic season, but he is not a Neymar and we have to compete with that kind of class.
“When it is possible to buy, for a reasonable price, players from that level, we shall do that because they can contribute as they are better.
“Ronaldo? He may come, but it is not possible. Why not? Because you have the club [Real], Ronaldo and then you have Manchester United and how much Manchester United want to spend.”
The transfer window is set to shut in six weeks and Van Gaal maintains that the club must flex their considerable financial muscle if they are to mount a serious assault on the Premier League title in 2015-16.
Indeed, the Dutchman says that the club’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in April is serving as a motivation to recruit a player in the mould of Eden Hazard, who scored the winner at Stamford Bridge.
“Chelsea have Hazard,” Van Gaal added. “He can always make goals, he can always make an action and decide a goal. Chelsea also have Willian and Oscar. Manchester City have [Sergio] Aguero, it’s the same type. Barcelona has [Lionel] Messi, Neymar and [Luis] Suarez. We as Manchester United have to compete with these clubs, so we have to look also for that kind of players.
“You need creative players. You need that because you have to disorganise [teams that park] the bus and, next year, there might be more teams who are parking the bus, so we must look for more creativity.”
Van Gaal, though, is satisfied with his business thus far, and believes United are a better team now than they were when he took the reins at the club last season.
“With Morgan Schneiderlin, with Bastian Schweinsteiger, with Memphis Depay, with Matteo Darmian, we are better than last year. But we have to be much better and I say to you that means the creativity of my players in the front,” he said.
“At Chelsea, we didn’t score and they scored and that is the difference in the game. If we had won that game, the gap would have been five points and the pressure was high [on Chelsea].”