With the Netherlands’ World Cup campaign coming to a close, manager Louis van Gaal will waste no time in taking to his post at Old Trafford as serious business begins in the Manchester United hot seat.
Though any manager would relish the chance to take charge of the Red Devils, the Dutchman inherits United with a serious rebuilding mission on his hands, but he appears keen to get to work and bring in some top stars.
The Dutch manager showed United fans exactly what they’ll be getting in the upcoming season by working wonders with the Netherlands in Brazil, and it looks as if he'll be hoping to bring some of his World Cup stars to Old Trafford—per the Manchester Evening News, reported via Liam Prenderville of the Daily Mirror reports.
Prenderville writes that Bruno Martins Indi, Stefan De Vrij and Daley Blind are on Van Gaal’s radar, as he looks to bolster the club’s defensive line ahead of the 2014/15 campaign.
With Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand leaving the club, a new centre-back era will get underway at Old Trafford, and Van Gaal believes the Feyenoord pair, Martins Indi and De Vrij, are the men to lead the revolution.
However, Gerrit van Leeuwen of Sky Sports revealed that despite Martins Indi confirming that he’ll be leaving Feyenoord, Porto look like being his ideal suitors.
The defender told RTV Rijnmond that he will no longer play in the Eredivisie, but it looks like his destination is already a formality—per Van Leeuwen:
"It's true that I am leaving, but now it's Feyenoord that will have to say more about the subject."
Such news will be disappointing for United fans, as Martins Indi proved during his time in Brazil that he can cut it even against the best in the business—including the very best, Lionel Messi.
His ability to read the game combined with a tough-tackling style is reminiscent of Vidic in his pomp, and as OptaJohan's statistics reveal, his distribution isn't bad, either:
Van Gaal will need to use the Dutch factor and his powers of negotiation to tempt Martins Indi out of the move, and he'll also need a something special to get De Vrij in red.
As Anthony Chapman of the Express revealed, the 22-year-old looks to have opted for a move to Lazio over being reunited with his international manager, with the club's sporting director, Igli Tare, insisting that De Vrij wants to play in Serie A:
"Many things have been said and written about De Vrij and his transfer to United but this is not true. His agent has said clearly that he has never been to Manchester to meet with the English club. De Vrij's will is to play in Lazio."
Though his attempts to sign the central defensive pair may end up being in vain, taking a page out of the Netherlands' book will certainly be a good move for Van Gaal.
The Dutch performed admirably at the World Cup, and the manager understandably revealed that he wants his new side to play like the men in orange—per Jamie Jackson of The Guardian:
"I hope the group in Manchester will become like this [Holland] one. We have to sing from the same hymn sheet. I hope at Manchester United I can do my best. I will do my best. Whether that’s enough for the fans I will wait and see, but I genuinely hope that will be the case. I’m looking forward to it."
However, a player from the side that ended Van Gaal's dream in Brazil, Argentinian Angel di Maria, is also reportedly on his radar, and the chances of landing his signature are now better than ever.
As AS revealed, reported via David Anderson of the Daily Mirror, Di Maria has snubbed the chance to move to Paris Saint-Germain, opening the door to a possible switch to Old Trafford.
However, the fact that Van Gaal can't offer Di Maria Champions League football next term is a hurdle that he still needs to get over, and that'll take some doing.
If the World Cup taught us anything about Van Gaal it's that he's incredibly determined. His tactical approach in Brazil was outstanding, despite the criticism, and ESPN's Miguel Delaney revealed that victory is the only thing on the manager's agenda:
Van Gaal: "You just have to play according to your strengths... it's all about winning. I'll pick a system that helps me win."— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) June 23, 2014
Landing any one of Martins Indi, De Vrij or Di Maria will take some effort from Van Gaal, but it's clear that he's the man to lead United into the future.
When Moyes took over at Old Trafford, he was faced with the impossible task of filling Sir Alex Ferguson’s shoes.
That makes Van Gaal’s task of following Moyes’ reign of terror a lot easier, and it’s clear the he’s in it for the long run.
With youngsters his primary transfer targets, Van Gaal looks like he’s trying to rebuild United from the depths of nothingness and make them a force in seasons to come, but that won’t stop him going all out for the title next season.