Louis van Gaal firmly believes Manchester United would have signed Pedro from FC Barcelona ahead of Chelsea had he been the player he wanted.
Chelsea came in at the last minute to seal a £21.4m deal for Pedro after Man United were the club who led the pursuit for weeks but failed to come to an agreement.
Despite admitting Pedro was a player who fitted his profile, Van Gaal dismissed the idea that Chelsea beat him to sign the Spaniard.
“I think that when we wanted Pedro it was not any problem,” he said at his pre-match press conference.
“So, because there was a (release) clause in his (Barcelona) contract and it was the most easy of transfers. So you can write what you want but we cannot say what we want. That’s the difference.”
When discussing the Pedro deal in detail, Van Gaal effectively denied ever having interest in signing him and said the press came to that assumption based off him simply he fit his profile.
He added: “I have the responsibility of protecting the interests of the club, of my players. And I cannot say too much. And when you ask me ‘Pedro, is he fitting in the profile?’ I can say ‘ok’. I cannot lie. But I don’t say that I am interested in the player. That’s the difference that you bring – that I am interested. I answer the question and there’s a difference.
“People need to know that what is written in the papers is not true because you cannot know it. Only the players know, the clubs know and that’s it. And also Barcelona protect their interests. And I have read for example that Barcelona doesn’t want to let him go. Why? You have to ask Barcelona how it (the transfer) can happen then. It’s like that. And I have the idea that you want to separate Ed Woodward with me. Never. Never. Because from every day I am updated by him and I trust him.”
Van Gaal’s denial of any interest in Pedro is a bit of a surprise, given the fact United were certainly making moves to sign him, but the Dutchman was expected to cover his tracks regardless of what really went on.
If Chelsea had not come in at the last minute, we’d probably be celebrating the signing of Pedro but that wasn’t to be. So, now United have to point their attention elsewhere.
Whether or not United do sign somebody to replace the speed and creativity that left with Angel di Maria remains to be seen but it would come as a surprise if Van Gaal didn’t as he has already said he wanted to.