The cat is finally out of the bag, and Louis van Gaal has been confirmed as the new Manchester United manager on a three-year contract.
The Dutchman will bring a wealth of experience to Old Trafford when he takes up the role after leading the Netherlands at this summer’s World Cup, and he’ll be charged with improving United’s fortunes after this season’s dismal failure under David Moyes.
With United languishing in seventh place Van Gaal will need to be a success, but just how will he improve the Red Devils? Here are five ways that things can get better:
UNITED WILL GET THEIR SWAGGER BACK
Under Moyes there was a strange insecurity about United, something which was quite obviously coming from the manager himself.
Van Gaal will seek to reinstall that confidence – you could say arrogance – about their play, and will look to ensure that any team visiting Old Trafford is in for the toughest of battles, and not the cakewalks experienced by the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and others this season when they took on Moyes’s side.
HE CAN ATTRACT STAR NAMES
Players all around the world have heard of Van Gaal, and that pull that the Dutchman has will be crucial as United face up to a season without Champions League football.
They desperately need reinforcements, certainly in defence following the departure of Nemanja Vidic, and so being able to convince players that United is still the place to play their football will be a key aspect of the Dutchman’s job.
Moyes didn’t have that attraction, and that’s what made the decision to sack him the correct one.
UNLIKE MOYES, HE’S A WINNER
Four Eredivisie titles, two La Ligas, the Bundesliga, the Champions League, the UEFA Cup and several other trophies.
Van Gaal’s CV speaks for itself and far outshines the one Community Shield which featured on Moyes’s.
If anything, the Dutchman’s appointment only goes to emphasise how wrong United were last summer.
HE CAN GET THE BEST OUT OF THE CURRENT PLAYERS
Van Gaal will already have a relationship with Robin van Persie from the Dutch national team, but as he showed when he led the unheralded AZ Alkmaar to the Eredivisie title in 2009, he can get the best out of so-called ‘average’ players too.
United’s squad has been called far worse over the past season, but with all of those squad members no doubt feeling that they’ll be given a reprieve by the appointment of the new man, there should be a freshness and determination about the squad when they reconvene after the World Cup.
HE WON’T FEEL THE PRESSURE
This is a man who has seen and done it all in European football for the last two decades, and so unlike Moyes he isn’t going to bow to the inevitable pressure that comes with the job.
Van Gaal’s famously robust temperament will be able to handle whatever is thrown at him, and whilst it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll bring the glory days back to United, it is certainly going to be fun to watch him try.
Can Van Gaal succeed immediately? United are 6.00 for the 2014/15 Premier League title