After the media frenzy that followed David Moyes’ announcement as Manchester United’s chosen successor to Sir Alex Ferguson last summer, if anything the Van Gaal appointment has almost flown under the main football radar.
That may have much to do with the inept way his recruitment was handled, with United CEO Ed Woodward yet again failing to cover himself in glory by seemingly taking an age to announce a deal the world knew was happening long before it was made official.
Taking all that aside, there are some good reasons as to why this could actually be a fantastic appointment for United:
By ROB BOULTON
5. Following Moyes rather than Ferguson
Whoever it was following Ferguson, the chalice always appeared to be a poisoned one. We can all speculate as to what the key reasons were for it going so horribly wrong, but Van Gaal comes into a club and team who slipped alarmingly last season. As such nobody truly knows what to expect this season, so he has time to build and shape his own team – and you know he won’t be bothered in the slightest by Sir Alex still being about the place with all he’s seen and done.
4. A very solid track record
He comes with a huge ego, but he also most crucially comes as a winner of the game’s biggest trophies. Where Moyes came with a reputation for over-achieving on a limited budget, Van Gaal comes with a background of managing European giants and winning trophies – winning him instant respect in the dressing room. At boardroom level they realised a proven winner was the only choice to be made second time around, though you do wonder why they didn’t explore more candidates last summer…
3. If you’re good enough, you’re old enough
Resonating closely with Sir Matt Busby’s belief and joy in allowing young players the chance to prove themselves, Van Gaal’s boldness to trust young players will be warmly welcomed at Old Trafford – and with De Gea, Rafael, Jones and Januzaj to name but a few already at his disposal, the hope is he can nurture these players and add some real quality around them to create an exciting new side playing to United’s traditions.
Following what he did at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, many credit Van Gaal greatly with providing the platform for those clubs recent dominance in Europe. United will be desperately hoping that form continues in M16.
2. Pulling power in the transfer market
I wouldn’t mind a flick through the contacts on his phone, and even with no European football to offer next season – you get the feeling he may be able to sell his vision and plan to players who may otherwise give United a wide berth until they return to the top table.
This summer is vital in reshaping the squad and renewing hope, so it’ll be very interesting to see how the side lines up and who is wearing the shirt come August.
1. The right people around him
Whereas Moyes fatally cut all ties to Ferguson’s coaching staff, Van Gaal brings some of his closest and most trusted allies – but has allowed Ryan Giggs the chance to work alongside him, and may well embrace more of the class of 92 as he finalises his back room team.
This instantly brings acceptance from the terraces, but could also provide the framework for a natural progression plan for years to come – offering stability and continuity when United need it badly.
As ever, time and results will ultimately make or break him – but this already feels more of a natural fit for United and could well prove to be their best signing in years.