Van Gaal confidence and aura the perfect fit for Man utd
Manchester United fans can now finally look forward to the new season with Louis van Gaal confirmed as the new permanent manager of the club, signing a three-year deal. But does this signal another catastrophic term for the Red Devils, or will this be the appointment to turn them back into world beaters?
Dutchman Van Gaal, 62, becomes the first foreign United boss (outside of the British Isles) in the history of the club, and he will hope to set more records in the coming years for the right reasons.
His credentials cannot be argued with. The current Netherlands chief has won a total of 19 trophies in his managerial career to date – 18 more than predecessor David Moyes – with the likes of European giants Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Ajax, as well as AZ Alkmaar.
Van Gaal certainly brings a certain arrogance and self-confidence with him – something that Moyes seemingly lacked – but who wouldn’t when they’ve won league titles at every club they’ve managed?
Yes, Van Gaal has not been a domestic manager since 2012, and might be out of practise working with players on a day-to-day basis, but he strongly hinted in the past how he missed that aspect.
One thing that will favour Van Gaal in particular is that the standards of last season have been set very low. United finished in seventh place in the league, meaning no distractions of European football, so the club can take the example of Liverpool and end up back in the top four.
They are odds-on at 4/6 to earn a Champions League spot, while they are priced at 6/1 to reclaim the Premier League title from neighbours Manchester City, thus making Van Gaal only the fourth boss to do so in their debut season.
“Spain (with Barca) saw me succeed in my first year and in Germany (with Bayern) as well. In England, it must also be possible,” he said.
United are also 7/1 to win next season’s FA Cup and the same price to get the Capital One Cup.
It seems that Man Utd’s owners chose their new appointment for a reason. While Moyes preferred a defensive and restricted approach, Van Gaal’s style is far more in the mould of what fans at Old Trafford expect.
Attacking and free-flowing football has very much been apart of his philosophy since his time at his first club as a manager Ajax, and he certainly has the players such as Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Juan Mata to carry that on.
Signings, however, will be a necessity this summer when Van Gaal returns from the World Cup. Long-term centre back pillars Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand have already confirmed their departure from the club, while legend Ryan Giggs has finally decided to hang his boots up to sit beside the new boss in the dugout.
The midfield is also a big problem, with the likes of Marouane Fellaini, Tom Cleverley and Anderson proving they do not have the consistent quality expected at United.
Van Gaal certainly has his connections, and rumoured targets Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller, who both played under the Dutchman at Munich, could be swayed into linking up with him again.
Other names that have been strongly linked with the Red Devils include defenders Luke Shaw, Mats Hummels, Ezequiel Garay and Everton duo Seamus Coleman and John Stones. In midfield, another Toffees star Ross Barkley along with Adam Lallana are reported targets, while unsettled Bayern striker Mario Mandzukic is also in the frame.
Compatriots of Van Gaal who have been linked are Arjen Robben (12/1 to join in the summer), Kevin Strootman and Jordy Clasie. Unsettled Barcelona attacker Cesc Fabregas and former United favourite Cristiano Ronaldo are priced at 7/1 and 20/1 respectively to be at the club next season.
Youth development is also a big part of Van Gaal’s ethos, having given Muller and Holger Badstuber their first chances at Bayern, and said: “You do not only do it with stars, but also with youth players.”
The likes of Adnan Januzaj, Phil Jones and James Wilson as well as players loaned out by Moyes including Nick Powell, Wilfried Zaha and Jesse Lingard, plus others who may join this summer would surely benefit.
Similarities with Van Gaal and Sir Alex Ferguson are certainly there, including many fallouts with high-profile names, and these look like more exciting times for United than last summer.
When asked about Ferguson, Van Gaal said: “I will certainly go for a drink with him. I’ve often done it before. We are like each other, I always put more pressure on myself than other people do.”
Coral offer specials on the new appointment. Van Gaal is 11/10 to see out his three-year contract (4/6 to not), 11/8 to win a major trophy in his first season and evens to get his new side to finish above rivals Liverpool in the Premier League.
Ryan Giggs, meanwhile, is priced at 5/1 to be next Man Utd boss, and Robin van Persie is evens to be named captain by Van Gaal.
The Dutch manager won the Champions League with Ajax, and is 7/2 to do so with the Red Devils at any point as well.