Since Louis Van Gaal was officially announced as the successor to David Moyes at Manchester United, most of the clubs fans have been swept up by a whirlwind of emotion. And they have every reason to be excited. Louis Van Gaal is one of the greats in soccer management.
Van Gaal has had success domestically in Spain, Germany and Netherlands over the course of his managerial career. The Dutch leader has also reached the pinnacle of European soccer when his Ajax side defeated AC Milan in the 1995 Champions League final in Vienna. And of course, he has just finished directing the Netherlands to a third place finish in this summer’s World Cup.
Van Gaal is lauded for his footballing philosophy, tactics and man-management.
All of these characteristics will be needed for the 62-year-old manager to guide Manchester United from a seventh place finish last season to a position on the league table that best befits the biggest club in the world.
Some United fans believe that Van Gaal will lead the club back to the Premier League title in his first season. Others are confident that the Dutchman’s presence on United’s bench guarantees that the Red Devils will finish in the league’s top four.
But Louis Van Gaal has only just met his players for the first time this week. He conveyed in his press conference on Thursday that it would take time for him to get his philosophy across to the players and to evaluate them.
“My method is always the same. I want to look at the players now, present,” Van Gaal stated. “Surely the first three, four weeks, I will see what they want to do. Then I will see about other players. I want to see the players performing my philosophy.”
What that means is at least for the next three to four weeks, Manchester United’s squad is going to remain the same.
The best recommendation for United fans is to avoid headlines in the English tabloids (Express, Star, Daily Mail, Mirror, Sun, etc.) linking players from other clubs to Old Trafford.
Take the manager at his word. He isn’t playing mind games with the media or other clubs. Van Gaal wants time to get to know the hand he has been dealt.
He confessed that he gave Ed Woodward the “green light” to sign Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw because they had been previously targeted by the club. But Van Gaal gave no indication that he has targeted any other names as possible transfer targets for United.
That means the players who flew to the United States for the club’s summer tour, and the ones who will join up with them following their World Cup holidays, will be given every chance to play a role on Louis Van Gaal’s team.
United have huge holes to fill at both centre-back positions with the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. And despite the signings of Herrera and Shaw, the club is still looking for players to step in at left-back and in the midfield.