Van Gaal era starts at Manchester United with big spending and bigger expectations
Louis van Gaal started a new chapter at Manchester United on Wednesday as the Dutch manager arrived for his first day in charge of the fallen giants.
Less than a week since securing the Netherlands’ third-place finish at the World Cup, Van Gaal jetted into Manchester to start returning United to being the Premier League’s preeminent force.
The Dutchman, 62, was named as replacement for the sacked David Moyes two months ago, but his World Cup commitments meant he had to wait until now to officially take the reins at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal faces a tough rebuilding job after United endured a poor campaign under Sir Alex Ferguson’s hand-picked successor Moyes, finishing seventh in the Premier League and failing to qualify for the Uefa Champions League.
Van Gaal, back in club management for the first time since leaving Bayern Munich in 2011, arrived in England on a private plane and was whisked to United’s Carrington training ground.
He was welcomed by his new assistant, United legend Ryan Giggs, and the club’s chief executive Ed Woodward, who gave the Dutchman a tour of the training ground after posing for pictures posted on the team’s official Twitter feed.
Van Gaal had sent an advance party to Manchester ahead of his arrival and his assistant coaches, Albert Stuivenberg and Marcel Bout, took the first training session of the day along with Giggs before their manager’s arrival.
Van Gaal, who won the Champions League with Ajax in 1995 and a combined seven domestic league titles in Spain, Germany and Holland, will be officially presented at a news conference at 3pm local time today before flying out to the United States on Friday for the club’s preseason tour.
United will play the Los Angeles Galaxy, Roma, Inter Milan and Real Madrid before beginning their Premier League campaign at home to Swansea on August 16.
Those matches will give Van Gaal his first chance to see new signings Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera in action.
England left-back Shaw, 19, arrived from Southampton for £30 million (Dh189 million), making him the most expensive teenager in football history, while Spanish midfielder Herrera cost £29 million from Athletic Bilbao.
That £59 million spree is not likely to be the end of Van Gaal’s spending with the manager reportedly keen to sign an experienced centre-back after the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, while also looking to add pace and creativity on the wings.
Given United just announced a record £750 million kit deal with Adidas, there is little doubt he can continue splashing the cash.
But at a news conference to unveil Massimiliano Allegri as his successor on Wednesday, Juventus insisted Vidal is not for sale. Club administrator Giuseppe Marotta said: ‘’Vidal is a Juventus player and we have never put him up for sale. A lot of clubs have asked for him, but we have never sat down to negotiate.
“We want to keep him. Vidal has expressed many times how happy he is to remain in Turin and, if that is confirmed, we will be happy to continue together.”
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Published: July 16, 2014 04:00 AM