Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal reportedly wants a director of football at the club to improve their work in the transfer window.
That’s according to Mike McGrath of the Sun on Sunday, who has stated that “he [Van Gaal] told pals in Holland that running the club from top to bottom is almost impossible without help.” It’s suggested that having a figure to oversee transfers at the club would allow the manager to concentrate squarely on coaching duties.
United are enduring a season of massive underachievement, having toiled both in the Premier League and in Europe. The manager has come in for a lot of criticism as a result; Squawka’s Greg Johnson feels some of the decisions made in the transfer market have been peculiar from the Dutchman:
Scholes was right. United should never have sold Welbeck. One of the stranger decisions of Van Gaal's time. Had all the qualities to fit in.— Greg Johnson (@gregianjohnson) March 19, 2016
When it comes to incoming players Van Gaal has not fared especially well. The two marquee captures at the beginning of his tenure—Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao—were ultimately failures, and, despite having parted with around £250 million to bring in new faces, the Red Devils have been overtaken by a lot of sides in the Premier League.
Bleacher Report’s Sam Pilger suggested that the poor recruitment undertaken by Van Gaal has been the major issue with his tenure:
Only one of Van Gaal's 5 outfield summer signings from last year trusted in the biggest game of the season symbolises his failure at #MUFC— Sam Pilger (@sampilger) March 17, 2016
However, in the build-up to United’s massive clash with Manchester City on Sunday, illustrious figures in the game have come out in support of the Dutchman.
“Van Gaal deserves to be respected the same as Jose [Mourinho] and Pep [Guardiola], maybe even more,” said Van Gaal’s former player Patrick Kluivert, per Joe Bernstein of the Mail on Sunday.
“If Louis van Gaal does not survive beyond the season at Manchester United you have to admire his bravery in putting so much faith in the club’s youngsters,” Arsenal icon Thierry Henry told the Sun on Sunday.
That’s definitely a side of Van Gaal’s management to be admired, although at a club such as United, nurturing academy players and still sampling success are qualities that are supposed to be intertwined. So it’s vital these prospects are supplemented with quality all over the squad.
As noted by Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News recently, tapping into youngsters cannot cover flaws in other areas of Van Gaal’s management style:
Do think Williams is good enough for first-team fold but Van Gaal also seems to be promoting young players to mask shortcomings. #mufc— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) March 12, 2016
Should United appoint a director of football?
A director of football is something more and more clubs at the elite level have sought to implement. Transfers are sometimes extremely complex, and any manager wishing to be immersed in such a process would have to make sacrifices in other key areas.
That’s especially pertinent when it comes to a club such as United, and further down the line, perhaps after recent struggles in terms of incoming players, it’s a system they may take a closer look at. However, with El Pais (h/t Ed Aarons of the Guardian) reporting Jose Mourinho has agreed a pre-contract to become the Red Devils boss, it’s a setup Van Gaal may not be part of.