Louis Van Gaal will make heads turn at Manchester United
The Dutch revolution has indeed begun at Manchester United.
Welcome to England, Louis. It promises to be anything but dull. Premier League has finally got a man who can get under Jose’s skin.
Football's worst kept secret was officially out of the bag last Monday, when 2012-13 premier league champions confirmed that Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal will take over as new Manchester United manager after the 2014 World Cup. Moyes experiment ended in abject failure after just 10 months, with Ferguson's previously untarnished reputation tainted for hand-picking a manager who sent United spinning to their worst season for a quarter of a century, with van Gaal now handed the job of picking up the pieces.
Louis van Gaal's football reputation is very, very good. As for the stories of his arrogance, and the trouble he causes? Well, everybody knows about this other side of him. But in most ways it won't actually matter: he's only a short-term manager. United know Van Gaal never lasts long anywhere, but wherever he does go he brings success. And at this moment that's exactly what United need: someone to turn things round, to get them back as a top-four club, back in the Champions League.
In his first seasons at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Van Gaal won domestic doubles. Can he do that again? If he brings the right players in, you never know. After all, nobody in their right mind predicted that Liverpool would have come so close to winning the title last season - and if they'd pulled it off it would have been fully deserved, because their football was second to none.
Van Gaal is a master of player development and fearless in his promotion of talented youth. Historically, this is the United way. Van Gaal is a manager who puts down foundations. In his time at Bayern they won a league title and reached a Champions League final, but just as significantly Van Gaal installed some key components of their subsequent successes. He signed fellow Dutchman Arjen Robben, converted Bastian Schweinsteiger into a central midfielder and helped ease David Alaba, Thomas Müller, Holger Badstuber, Toni Kroos and Mats Hummels into the first team. At Ajax, he revamped the academy and helped a generation of players to bloom. At Barcelona, he gave Andrés Iniesta, Xavi and Carles Puyol a concerted start.
Young players at United, the likes of James Wilson and Tom Lawrence, both given their first-team debuts by Ryan Giggs in his penultimate game in temporary charge of United, can expect to be given a chance by van Gaal, who has put his faith in emerging stars wherever he has worked. Van Gaal's 1995 Champions League-winning Ajax side was made up of home-grown talents and included young Dutch stars of the future such as Edwin van der Sar, Michael Reiziger, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids, the De Boer brothers and match-winner Patrick Kuivert, then 18, all of whom went on to become legends of European football.
While on the issue of development of youth, comparisons of Van Gaal with Sir Alex Ferguson are noteworthy, one must not forget about their not so different experiences with the press. Like Fergie, Van Gaal has a certain fire about in him which will make the Friday’s press conferences even more interesting.
One of his most famous quotes during a media interaction was "Am I so smart or are you so stupid?" He constantly snaps at them and it's time for the press buckle up and get ready for an almighty ride next year. On Manchester United transfers this season, he said: "I say which players I want and which players can leave. But they (United) have to negotiate. I’ve never interfered with transfers."
So as 'The Chosen One' David Moyes comes to terms with his sacking and 'The Special One' Jose Mourinho gets busy trying to find a top-class striker for next season, here's what you need to know about 'The Only One' — Louis Van Gaal.
In his own words...
"I know I'm a very good coach."
"I am who I am: confident, arrogant, dominant, honest, hard-working and innovative."
"I am the way I am and I've not got an easy-going manner. But I'm not going to change my personality just because some people want me to."
"Running is for animals. You need a brain and a ball for football."
Praise for Van Gaal...
"He has a brilliant reputation. He is a successful manager in different countries. Obviously he has taken Holland to the World Cup. He has a fantastic pedigree." - Ryan Giggs
"He is very disciplined, very strict and is very attacking in his philosophy. I know English football well, and his style is suited to that." - Bryan Roy, former Ajax star
"He would be absolutely the first pick of any club, especially top teams everywhere in the world. He likes to let young players make their debut if ready for it." - Patrick Kluivert, who scored the winning goal for Van Gaal's Ajax in the 1995 Champions League final.
"He would be perfect for Man United because he is an internationally experienced coach and he understands English football. He is experienced and he is ambitious. He has the personality. He has everything." - Franz Beckenbauer
Criticism of Van Gaal...
"You wonder whether he has one or two screws loose." - Johan Cruyff
"I haven't had fun on the pitch once under van Gaal. I had more than enough of it." – Franck Ribery
"Van Gaal is the Hitler of the Brazilian players, is arrogant, proud and has a problem. He has no idea of football. His type is sick, he's crazy." - Giovanni, Brazil international who worked with Van Gaal at Barcelona
"Louis van Gaal has been a very good coach in many clubs but his style is very difficult. He is very tough, people don't like him, but he wins. And one day you don't win - and when you don't win, everybody that is angry with you will come back to you and try to kill you." - Ferran Soriano, Manchester City chief executive and Van Gaal's vice president at Barcelona
"Van Gaal simply didn't want to work with me, he treats players like interchangeable objects." - Luca Toni, 2006 World Cup winner and former Bayern Munich striker
"Van Gaal hurt me more than anyone else in football," Brazil defender Lucio once said after being sold by Van Gaal at Bayern Munich
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