3: Mehdi Benatia
Much like the circumstances surrounding the failure to land Mats Hummels, Mehdi Benatia’s move to Old Trafford was always going to throw up more issues than it did answers.
First and foremost he’s a top talent looking to play in the Champions League, with of course Van Gaal couldn’t offer him.
Then there’s the difficulties in negotiating with his club - who at the time were AS Roma - as they didn’t want to let him go. Bayern Munich ended up managing to convince them to sell, but the Allianz Arena is a far more attractive place at the moment than United, and so sorting out personal terms wouldn’t have been nearly as difficult.
Nevertheless the failure to land Benatia represents a missed opportunity, and the 28-year-old would have been an excellent option in terms of an experienced head able to ease the pressure on the relatively raw back-line Van Gaal has at his disposal at the moment.