Van Gaal reportedly asked United to approach Barcelona star

Pirlo and Xavi Italy Spain

New Manchester United manager reportedly asked the club to approach Barcelona's Xavi about a possible move to Old Trafford.

Louis van Gaal looked into the possibility of signing Barcelona midfielder Xavi soon after agreeing to become the next Manchester United manager according to a report.

Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo claims the 62-year-old told United to approach the Spanish international, with the club allegedly speaking to someone close to the player about a possible move.

At 34, it would certainly have been a surprise move for someone whose Barca contract expires in the summer of 2016. But the report goes on to suggest that Xavi declined the offer, opting for a less challenging role in the twilight of his career.

It has recently been reported that the play-maker will move to Qatari side Al Arabi after the World Cup. But if the latest story is true, it seems United were investigating the possibility of bringing one of Europe’s greatest ever midfielders to England.

Reports emanating from Spain claim United are now close to tying up a deal for Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera. But could he be the back-up option after van Gaal failed to sign his former player?

We will never know, and given his age Xavi was only ever going to be a short-term fix for United’s midfield problems. But following 47 appearances for Barcelona last season it is clear the player still has energy left in the tank.

Now United fans will be watching eagerly to see if another Spanish midfielder makes his way to Old Trafford. But it appears van Gaal had big plans on taking the job, and you wonder how many other top stars he has asked United to approach this summer…

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