Manchester United face a losing battle to beat Real Madrid to the signing of Bayern Munich star Toni Kroos.
According to reports in Spanish newspaper El Confidencial incoming United boss Van Gaal telephoned Kroos in an attempt to persuade him to join the Old Trafford side instead of Real Madrid.
The news comes in the wake of several reports that have claimed Real Madrid now lead the race to sign the Germany international.
Bayern Munich reportedly would prefer to do a deal with Real Madrid over United, having worked with them closely before on several big transfer deals - including Arjen Robben's move.
Real Madrid could also use Sami Khedira as a makeweight in any deal to bring Kroos to the Bernabeu. Central midfield is a position Carlo Ancelotti has targeted as one to strengthen this summer.
Asier Illarramendi has not worked out so far, and Xabi Alonso isn't getting any younger. The reigning Champions League winners have been linked with Kroos and Chelsea's Ramires, as well as Juventus duo Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal.
United are still hopeful that a deal for Kroos can be reached, and reports in Spanish paper Sport claim that they've made a €24m bid for the midfielder.
But with no Champions League football next season, they may find it difficult to convince Kroos to turn down the advances of Real Madrid.