5 Reasons Why Manchester United Should Go for Louis van Gaal
With names such as Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Diego Simeone and current temporary boss Ryan Giggs also in the mix, the Dutchman has been a front-runner to fill the hot seat since it appeared Moyes’ disappointing tenure would end after he failed to secure Champions League football for the first time since 1995-96.
While Klopp is the fans’ overwhelming favourite according to this Mirror poll, with 50 percent of the votes, Van Gaal is second with 11 percent.
Has he got what it takes to restore the club to its traditional position at the forefront of English football and secure the minimum of Champions League football at the first attempt should he be appointed?
Read on to find out.
He Offers a Safe Pair of Hands and Great Experience
Louis van Gaal brings a wealth of football experience and success after more than 20 years at the top of European football with some of the world’s greatest clubs.
A winner of three Dutch titles from 1994 to 1996 with Ajax, Van Gaal followed up that success at Barcelona, where he won La Liga in 1998 and 1999 after taking over from Bobby Robson.
A further Eredivisie title with AZ Alkmaar and Bundesliga success with Bayern Munich has marked him as one of the game’s more astute and knowledgeable coaches, although that reputation was somewhat undermined by his failure to guide a star-studded Dutch team to the 2002 World Cup, missing out to Portugal and the Republic of Ireland.
According to Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail, Bayern Munich legend Franz Beckenbauer believes Van Gaal would be a great fit for the club. He reports the German as saying: "I don’t know if it’s a rumour or if they’re really trying to sign him but if they agree with Louis I think it would be a good part of the future. He won a lot of titles so he is experienced and he is ambitious. He has the personality. He has everything."
At 62, Van Gaal brings significant experience and the promise of success, and with his renowned arrogance and confidence said to be as unflappable as Alex Ferguson’s, it would appear he is the ideal choice to steady the ship and guide United into calmer and more optimistic waters.
There is little doubt he would give the club the safe hands it craves after Moyes’ turbulent reign, and it would be interesting to see what kind of performances he could get out of the current crop of players, who have been so heavily criticised this year.
He Is an Exponent of the Beautiful Game
Van Gaal spent a small part of the early days of his playing career in the Ajax academy, learning the merits of "total football" in the early 1970s before spending most of his playing days at Sparta Rotterdam.
It was in his formative years that his emphasis on attacking and entertaining football was honed, and after succeeding Leo Beenhakker as Ajax coach in 1991, he quickly set about implementing his philosophy and garnering quick and lasting success.
He placed importance on pace and trickery on the wings, with the likes of Marc Overmars and Finidi George key figures on the flanks and Patrick Kluivert and Jari Litmanen up top. The likes of Luis Figo, Rivaldo, Luis Garcia and Boudewijn Zenden mirrored his reliance on wingers at Barca, while one of his first moves as Bayern manager was bringing in compatriot Arjen Robben to boost his side’s threat from the wing. With Franck Ribery on the other flank, Bayern were a joy to watch.
All of his sides have played the game the way most fans would like to see it played, and his attacking ethos would be a breath of fresh air to the Old Trafford faithful after the cautious, negative, unambitious tactics employed by Moyes.
He is also credited with putting in place the structures that allowed Barca and Bayern to go on to their subsequent successes, and if he could replicate that at Old Trafford, the Glazer family and the fans would be more than satisfied.
He Is a Big Name Who Will Attract Big-Name Players
Van Gaal is one of the biggest names in world football, and there is no doubt his record of success would be a huge boost to United’s ability to attract the best of European and world talent.
United will face a tough battle to entice the game’s elite players without the added incentive of Champions League football, and possibly even Europa League football, so they will need an assured and iconic head to encourage players to the club.
United have traditionally enjoyed great success in the transfer markets, but even throughout Ferguson’s time in charge, targets have been missed for a variety of reasons, mainly financial and geographical.
The Scot regularly put the club’s lack of activity down to a lack of “value” in the market. But having seen the likes of Alan Shearer, Ronaldinho, Wesley Sneijder, Cesc Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara all reportedly snub moves to Salford, according to What Culture's Ryan McMurtry, it’s obvious that the club is not as attractive a proposition as some might think.
And with the new manager expected to have up to a reported £200 million to spend, Van Gaal should help in that respect, especially in comparison to Moyes. But whether he can attract the quality necessary to return United to the top will be an intriguing feature of his tenure, should he receive the call.
He is also not afraid to give youth a chance, so don't be surprised to see some more young talent like Adnan Januzaj breaking through from the club's academy if he gets the nod.
He Is a Strong and Forceful Personality
Van Gaal has long been lauded as a stern, charismatic and forceful figure who can assume control of a club with speed and conviction following his arrival.
He has made his mark at every club he has managed and has mostly brought success wherever he has gone. His sense of authority and leadership is exactly what United need right now.
Many critics believe that one of the main reasons for Moyes’ spectacular failure was that he did not command the respect of the players, who had won multiple trophies and failed to be inspired by him.
Moyes struggled to land silverware at Everton and, before that, Preston North End, with whom he did win the 1999 Division Two title (the equivalent of today’s League One title), and he failed to convince the United dressing room he could deliver trophies despite beginning the campaign with a Charity Shield win over Wigan Athletic at Wembley.
With Van Gaal, respect should not be a problem. A quick glance at his resume should immediately confirm to any player that Van Gaal is a man of ambition with a proven track record at the very top.
However, there have been concerns about the Dutchman’s temper and sometimes erratic behaviour, which is perfectly addressed in this talkSPORT article. Or take a look at this YouTube clip, which shows him storming out of a TV studio when he realises he will not be offering expert analysis for the station the following week.
He Is Available
One of the most significant factors in Van Gaal’s favour is that he will be free to assume any role he likes once the Netherlands’ interest in this summer’s World Cup comes to an end.
While most of United’s other reported targets, such as Carlo Ancelotti, Jurgen Klopp, Diego Simeone and Jose Mourinho, are tied to contracts at their current clubs, Van Gaal is anxious to address his future and is believed to favour a resolution before the finals begin.
According to Goal.com, Van Gaal was lined up to replace Ferguson when the Scot toyed with retirement back in 2002, so perhaps his appointment would be the fulfillment of his destiny, albeit 12 years late.