Thomas Muller would have been perfect for Manchester United

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It was Louis van Gaal who handed Thomas Muller his Bayern Munich debut at the age of 19, so it came as no surprise when the Manchester United manager returned for the world's most underrated forward during the summer transfer window.

When discussion turns to world-class players, Muller's name is seldom mentioned - but it deserves to be based on the remarkable success he has enjoyed over the past five years.

The 25-year-old, for some reason, often goes under the radar - yet this is a world-class goalscorer who always manages to score important goals in the biggest matches.

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Muller: 2010 Golden Boot winner

Muller securing the World Cup Golden Boot award at the tender age of 21 - at the 2010 finals - was a stunning achievement which doesn't get the recognition it so richly warrants.

He netted five goals to take the prestigious individual accolade and then scored the same tally four years later in Brazil. On this occasion he secured the Silver Ball, narrowly losing out on the main prize to Colombia's James Rodriguez, but this time he landed his hands on the World Cup trophy.

A World Cup winner at the age of 25, Muller has also won three Bundesliga titles and three German Cups, plus Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup winners' medals.

Why such little recognition?

So why do so few regard him as a world-class footballer?

The general consensus is that Muller is a natural goalscorer who works hard but lacks the extraordinary technical ability of a genuine top-class forward like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Furthermore, he doesn't produce the ridiculous numbers season-in, season-out like Messi and Ronaldo do.

But his goalscoring record is by no means poor. In fact, it's very good when you consider this is a player always willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the team, which often involves playing in a wide position.

This will happen on an increasingly regularly basis now that Robert Lewandowski, one of the world's best number nines, is plying his trade at the Allianz Arena.

Muller netted 19 goals in all competitions in both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 campaigns; 23 goals in the 2012-13 season, and an even better 26 goals in 51 matches last term.

Muller wanted Bayern Munich stay

It's no wonder why Van Gaal was so keen to reunite with the forward at Old Trafford - although there was never any realistic chance of Pep Guardiola sanctioning his sale away from Bayern Munich.

Muller, meanwhile, had no intention of joining the Red Devils - even though his former mentor, Van Gaal, had replaced David Moyes - and promptly signed a well-deserved contract extension.

"I know there was interest, but Man United were interested in a lot of players this summer," Muller told the Guardian. "It never really got anywhere because I had just renewed my contract [until 2019], and Bayern were clear that they saw my future here.

"The decision for me was an easy one."

In the end, Manchester United snapped up Radamel Falcao, one of the world's best goalscorers but a different type of forward to Muller.

United fans are not complaining, but would Muller have been a better fit?

Falcao is an out-and-out goalscorer. He's not the best with his back to goal, but give him half a chance and he'll take it.

The same can be said of Muller, although the German World Cup winner is very good playing back-to-goal. He's also brilliant playing in wide areas, as a number ten or even slightly deeper.

In terms of versatile forwards, he's probably the best in the world - and it's high time the rest of the world acknowledged this fact.

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Bayern Munich
Manchester United
Premier League

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