Van Gaal was hired to clean up the mess left by David Moyes, whose brief reign as Ferguson’s successor at Old Trafford ended with the club at their lowest ebb for two decades.
United responded by hiring van Gaal and handing the Dutch coach significant funds to breathe new life into the team.
Van Gaal splashed out over £150 million ($240 million) on Angel di Maria, who cost a club record £59 million, Radamel Falcao, Ander Herrera, Marcus Rojo and Luke Shaw.
The new signings have helped United into the Premier League’s top four already despite some indifferent performances, and Ferguson, who retired after winning the title in 2013, is in no doubt that fresh faces were needed.
Referring to the capture of Di Maria from Real Madrid, he told MUTV: “When you can identify ability like that for Manchester United, they have the resources to do that – fees I never quite equalled but they needed a big injection this year.”
On the other signings he added: “Herrera played against us three years ago for Bilbao, he’s a talented young player and we scouted him quite a lot. He’s quite aggressive for a lad who’s not got a great frame.
“I watched Rojo at the World Cup and thought he did well. He’s capable of playing left side or centre back.
“Luke Shaw we tried to get when he was 16. They (Southampton) wouldn’t sell him but they always said we’d be the first to know if he did. He’s a talented boy, good footballer and likes to get forward.
“Daley Blind is a common-sense footballer, a version of Darren Fletcher a few years ago. And Falcao is the one we’re all waiting to see, he’s got fantastic goalscoring ability.”
– Faith in youth -Despite the big-money arrivals, Ferguson is pleased that van Gaal has decided to use the club’s academy as well, with youngsters Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett both featuring in defence this season.
“The rebuilding of the team, they’ve brought in some good quality which is really important because you need quality at Manchester United, you need the best players,” Ferguson added.
“What’s pleased me about Louis is he’s given about seven of the young kids their debuts, which falls into line with the history of the club. I think the supporters will respond well when a young player gets his opportunity.”
Ferguson was often pictured in the stands last season as Moyes — the man hand-picked by the legendary former United boss to replace him — struggled to get the team performing.
There was never anything to suggest Ferguson was influencing Moyes and he is adamant he has nothing to do with van Gaal when it comes to first-team affairs.
“There’s no ongoing dialogue. He comes into my office sometimes after a game, we have a chat, it’s not a matter of picking up the phone to him as he’s a very capable person, a strong leader.
“He knows what I’m about but there’s no need for him to phone me,” he said.
Ferguson remains a United ambassador and director, as well as filling a number of other roles.
He also continues to work with UEFA and the League Managers’ Association, but says fewer managers are now calling him for advice, as was often the way in the past.
“One or two do, not many. I think they probably think I’m dead!” he said.