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Van Gaal welcomes United distractions

ESPN staff
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Louis van Gaal signed a three-year deal at Manchester United in May © Getty Images
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Louis van Gaal says his move to Manchester United has been a welcome distraction from his focus on the Netherlands' World Cup campaign.

The new manager at Old Trafford was negotiating his contract to become David Moyes' replacement as he prepared to take his country to Brazil and, reportedly, he has the club pursuing transfer targets such as Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger.

"You can't just focus monotonously on the World Cup, so perhaps Manchester United was a good distraction," Van Gaal said in a break from getting the Netherlands ready to face Spain on Friday night. "You can't be fully focused on football for five weeks."

How much time Van Gaal has spent on United business in recent weeks is unclear and the 62-year-old has always underlined how committed he is to his job as manager of the Netherlands.

He added: "The question about Manchester United? There is a time and a place. I don't think this is the place.

"The World Cup is a championship and clubs don't take part in this, so I am fully focused on the national team. Distraction? It may be a distraction but, for instance, the players - when was it? - on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, I gave them some time off, just to get out there."

Van Gaal was announced as David Moyes' replacement at United in May after signing a three-year deal and will take charge at Old Trafford once he has finished leading the Netherlands at the World Cup in Brazil.

But the club are pushing ahead with transfer business in the meantime, and Schweinsteiger has been identified as a top transfer target. Van Gaal worked with him during his time at Bayern and was the man who converted the German international from a winger to a defensive midfielder.

Schweinsteiger has two years remaining on his contract and, according to reports, would be allowed to leave for the right price, with figures of between £15 million and £25m floated.

Van Gaal is also said to be keen on signing Roma's Kevin Strootman but United may wait until January to make their move as the Dutchman is sidelined with a serious knee injury.

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