Premier League fans, be prepared. Louis Van Gaal it’s not going to be a quiet introduction to the heady world of England’s top flight.
The Netherlands national team head coach has already expressed an interest in managing in the Premier League (see video below) after the World Cup. And today’s report indicates that a deal has been agreed in principle with Manchester United.
Manchester United executives and supporters need to be prepared before Van Gaal’s massive ego makes its grand entrance. He can be confident, aggressive, arrogant, stubborn, confrontational and easily prone to outbursts and temper tantrums, as well as some zany behavior at times.
Van Gaal believes he has no equal. He believes there isn’t a single person whose knowledge of football comes anywhere close to his; such statements might hurt Jose Mourinho, the most. To add to the misery, his outbursts in the dressing room will fill his players with fear.
After being appointed as Ajax boss, he told his director “congratulations on getting the best coach in the world.”
Years later in a press conference, he quipped “We have top players, and, sorry, I’m arrogant, a top coach.”
Upon taking the charge at Bayern, he said “The mentality of Bayern fits me perfectly. Why? The motto here is ‘we are who we are’. And I am who I am: confident, arrogant, dominant, honest, hardworking and innovative.”
While the players who have never witnessed his style of management before will be in utter disbelief, the media might be surprised by his hubris and pretentious manner.
At Bayern, in an attempt to make it clear to his players that there isn’t anyone who will be treated specially and be given top priority in the line-ups, he insisted he ‘had the balls’ to leave any one of them out of the team as he believed that all players are secondary to his systems. Fearing they didn’t believe him, he decided to prove it to the Bayern players.
Luca Toni, the former Bayern attacker, told Bild:
“He wanted to make clear that he can drop any player. It was all the same to him because, as he said, he had the balls. He demonstrated it literally (by dropping his trousers). I have never experienced anything like it, it was totally crazy.”
There’s more to Van Gaal than just controversies, though. His coaching record is quite phenomenal. He has won seven league titles with four different clubs in three different countries.
However, he remains much more than a man who delivers titles wherever he goes. His uncompromising attacking principles bring entertainment to the field. He has never lined up to tailor to the opposition or to just grind out a result. Nothing is acceptable apart from dominance.
Furthermore, his commendable trust in youth players is great. If Van Gaal sees ability in a player, he will surely give him a chance without considering experience or age.
It is this mindset that saw him lift his only UEFA Champions League trophy to date with Ajax in 1995, a team that consisted of young talent and rising stars like Patrick Kluivert (18), Edgar David (22), Clarence Seedorf (19), Marc Overmars (22), Michael Reiziger (22) and Nwankwo Kanu (19).
Given his successful managerial career, people who assume that appointing Van Gaal to Manchester United is pointless, as he is already 62-years old and can only be a temporary fix, are missing the point. Van Gaal doesn’t only bring success. Through his style instilled in the team and his power to nurture young talent, it will help lay the foundation for a club to sustain even greater future success.
For Manchester United players and directors, as well as the fans and the press, Van Gaal will surely be a nightmare, but perhaps he possesses the ability to convert it into dreams along the way.