The Dutch boss has coached a number of top youngsters during a career which has seen him manage Ajax to the Champions League title, as well as stints at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
One name amongst all, however, stands out as the very best and it is little surprise to see him come through the ranks at Barca's famed academy La Masia.
“Xavi and Iniesta. Maybe Iniesta because he is a more explosive player and that’s the way football is played now. But Xavi.” Van Gaal told Gary Neville.
Incidentally, the Barcelona midfielder is the exact sort of player which the Red Devils have been missing since former Class of '92 star Paul Scholes decided to hang up his boots.
A number of fantastic midfielders have been linked with moves to Old Trafford this summer, notably Chilean international Arturo Vidal, and with just a week left of the transfer window the Red Devils still appear light in that area.
Creative players who can dominate midfield through precise passing and fabulous movement in the mould of Xavi, however, are hard to come by, and Van Gaal knows it will take a hefty sum to bring in a star with such calibre.
Xavi made his debut for Barcelona in 1998 and has since gone on to represent the club 723 times in all competitions.
Renowned for being one of the greatest European midfielders of all time, the Spanish international has a long list of honours including seven La Liga titles, three Champions League trophies and a World Cup winner’s medal with Spain.
Is Xavi the best midfielder of his generation?