As we can see here, when asked about the prospect of signing Ashley Cole as an emergency left-back, Van Gaal responded with “he didn’t play for a year,” before giving the reporter a friendly pat on the cheek:
Although the Dutchman dismissed the prospect out of hand, it might be a transfer worth considering given the current dearth of options at left-back.
Matteo Darmian was the latest United defender to suffer an injury problem, as he hobbled off against Saints during the aforementioned defeat. However, he has said he is "fine" after the collision.
Van Gaal is without four players who could cover the full-back positions, with Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young all sidelined.
As noted by Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News, eventually Van Gaal had to resort to an emergency option in the position:
Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst
Amusing how Van Gaal says #mufc 'became weaker in defence' due to Fellaini and Darmian subs. He then put Januzaj on at left-back.2016-1-24 12:24:56
Cole is a free agent after being released by AS Roma. The 35-year-old was the finest left-back in the world during his heyday, having excelled during spells with both Arsenal and Chelsea. However, as Van Gaal alluded to, regular football has been scarce for the veteran.
Van Gaal is under big pressure at United, with reports denied that he offered his resignation in the wake of the 1-0 loss to Southampton on Saturday, per Simon Stone of BBC Sport. If the Dutchman was to leave the club, his curious interactions with journalists would be missed.
Last month, an angry Van Gaal walked out of a press conference after just five minutes following questions about his future at the club. Recently he was also accused of calling a reporter “fat” after the Red Devils conceded a last-minute equaliser against Newcastle United.