10 Decisions Facing Louis Van Gaal Upon His Arrival at Manchester United

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentJuly 13, 2014

10 Decisions Facing Louis Van Gaal Upon His Arrival at Manchester United

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    Louis van Gaal starts work as Manchester United's new manager this week.

    After a successful World Cup with the Netherlands, he will set about turning around United's fortunes after a miserable season under David Moyes.

    Van Gaal and his new club fly to the United States on Friday for the start of their pre-season tour.

    And before the start of the new Premier League season in August, the Dutchman has some key decisions to make.

    Here's a list of 10 pressing issues Van Gaal will have to resolve.

    Feel free to use the comments section below to agree, disagree and add your own.

    All information obtained first-hand.

Find a System

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    Louis van Gaal has shown great tactical flexibility during the World Cup in Brazil.

    He was one of the key reasons why a Dutch squad of relatively modest ability came within a penalty shootout of getting to the final.

    His work with the Netherlands showed a talent for finding a system to get the best out of the players he has available.

    It's perhaps the 62-year-old's single-biggest task as he begins work at Old Trafford this week.

Find a New Centre-Back

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    United need at least one new centre-back following the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic at the end of last season.

    Louis van Gaal has been linked with plenty. 

    And he'll need to secure one before the deadline to add competition for Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

    Mats Hummels would be ideal while Van Gaal knows all about Stefan De Vrij from their time together with the Dutch national squad. Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen is another option.

Decide Whether His Midfield Needs Strengthening

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    Centre-back isn't the only part of United's squad that needs strengthening.

    They've signed Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao but they could still do with one more in midfield.

    It's likely that Louis van Gaal will want a player who could offer something defensively. It's something United have missed since Owen Hargreaves was struck down with knee trouble.

    Sami Khedira or Arturo Vidal would be ideal, but United are yet to make a move for either.

Decide on a Right-Back

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    Rafael had a difficult season under David Moyes and Phil Jones would rather play at centre-back.

    But unless another right-back arrives at Old Trafford, Louis van Gaal will have to pick one as his first choice.

    Rafael offers more going forward but Jones is better defensively. It means Van Gaal has got a decision to make before the opening game of the season against Swansea City next month.

Judge the Fringe Players

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    When David Moyes took over last summer, he made a conscious effort to give each player a clean slate. 

    And while that's admirable, it delayed the evolution of the squad. The players who clearly weren't good enough to play for United were given another year to make their case.

    That can't happen again.

    Louis van Gaal will have to make decisions quickly about the players he wants to keep and those he wants to move on. He won't be able to accommodate everyone.

Work out Where Ryan Giggs Fits in

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    It's difficult for any new manager when he has a member of staff thrust upon him. They usually want to work with people they know and trust.

    Louis van Gaal has been convinced to include Ryan Giggs in his backroom team. But he's also brought in his own men—Albert Stuivenberg, Frans Hoek and Marcel Bout.

    Van Gaal will have to find a way of integrating Giggs into that group to make use of his expertise and detailed knowledge of the squad.

Marouane Fellaini

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    Marouane Fellaini came to symbolise David Moyes' failed reign at Old Trafford.

    The Belgian was overpriced at £27.5 million and looked out of his depth in United's biggest games of the season against Manchester City, Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

    He had a better World Cup with Belgium. But he was used further forward rather than sat in front of the back four.

    It will be a challenge for Louis van Gaal to find a system that gets the best out of the former Everton man. Of course, he may not want to. 

Juan Mata

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    Like Marouane Fellaini, Louis van Gaal will inherit another expensive David Moyes signing in Juan Mata.

    After arriving at Old Trafford in January, Mata was at his best for United when he was played centrally, behind the striker.

    But it's difficult to see where he fits in with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie also in the squad. It's unlikely Van Gaal will want to offload the former Chelsea man after just a few months.

    But he's got a job on his hands to fit Mata, Rooney and Van Persie into the same team while playing them all in their preferred positions.

Wayne Rooney

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    Despite a relatively poor World Cup, Wayne Rooney is still one of United's best players.

    But Sir Alex Ferguson struggled to fit the England striker and Robin van Persie into the same team. His successor David Moyes couldn't seem to do it, either.

    It will be down to Van Gaal to find a system that suits them both. But that will be difficult given that both prefer to play down the middle.

Picking a Captain

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    The captaincy doesn't really mean very much, but it can be a tricky issue.

    Nemanja Vidic's departure means the armband will go to someone new next season.

    In terms of seniority, it probably should be Wayne Rooney.

    But Louis van Gaal picked Robin van Persie to lead his Dutch side at the World Cup and there will be a temptation to give him the job at United.

    Either way, someone is going to be disappointed.