Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal paid Arjen Robben a personal visit at the famous Lowry Hotel on Monday evening, ahead of Bayern Munich's Champions League clash against Manchester City.
The Express reports that the Dutch winger arrived in England with the rest of Pep Guardiola's first-team squad in preparation for tonight's European encounter at the Etihad Stadium, and the Red Devils boss made the most of an opportunity to catch up with his fellow countryman.
Robben played under Van Gaal for two years at the Allianz Arena, during which time they forged a close working relationship, which was later maintained at international level when the veteran coach took charge of the Netherlands in 2011.
And, after enjoying a successful run to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Brazil during the summer, Van Gaal is thought to have approached the 30-year-old to sound out his interest in following him to Old Trafford, only for Robben to knock back his advances and reiterate his commitment to the Bundesliga champions.
But, despite the former Chelsea and Real Madrid star's obvious reluctance to move to a club without Champions League football, that didn't stop widespread speculation suggesting that a £40 million transfer to Manchester United could be negotiated before the summer window deadline.
Of course, a high-profile move never transpired, and prompted the Red Devils' British record-breaking bid for Angel di Maria, who swapped the Santiago Bernabeu for the Premier League in £59.7 million deal.
However, Van Gaal still remains very keen on Robben - even after snubbing Manchester United during the summer - and that is reflected in the fact the 63-year-old went out of his way to see his compatriot last night.
"I am not here to see Bayern but Arjen Robben" - Louis van Gaal
"I am not here to see Bayern but Arjen Robben," he was quoted telling German newspaper Sport Bild. "I won't attend the banquet."
Having already made a lasting impression on his former manager, Robben could also further endear himself to Manchester United supporters by helping knock local rivals Manchester City out of Europe's elite club competition.
Manuel Pellegrini's side are on the brink after picking up just two points from their opening four games in Group E, and know that another defeat on Tuesday evening will almost guarantee their elimination.
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