Just over ten months ago, David Moyes was manager of Manchester United. The two chaotic months between 1 July and 2 September goes down in United folklore as our biggest transfer market car crash.
Between ‘fake representitives’ sent to purchase Ander Herrera, ‘derisory and insulting’ bids for Leighton Baines, Ed Woodward’s ‘important transfer business’ that saw him leave Australia and United paying £27.5m on deadline day for Marouane Fellaini, it was a farcical window.
Fast forward to May 2014. United have announced Louis Van Gaal as manager. Given that they’ve already lost Nemanja Vidic to Inter and Rio Ferdinand released with potentially many to join, it’ll be an important summer in replacing the aforementioned and improving the overall quality of the squad, which is precisely why the Van Gaal factor is crucial.
The stark contrast in the achievements highlights why hiring an experienced coach of Van Gaal’s stature was key in this period of transition. When a player is given the chance to play for a world class manager, one with titles in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, as well as various domestic trophies and European titles, it’s far more appealing than a man who has no experience and calibre of winning.
What this also shows is why some players may have rejected a move to United last summer and after what happened in the season, few could argue they made the wrong decision.
Van Gaal is also no rookie to the Champions League having won the competition with Ajax. Of any coach to play 50+ games in the competition, he has the best win percentage. When a player sees a manager with years of experience, titles and the right footballing philisophy, it can only be a good thing.
Furthermore, Van Gaal’s links to top-tier players is a final important factor. Toni Kroos has been one name linked heavily to United over the past few months because he fits the bill of a midfielder United so desperately need.
Kroos was given the opportunity at Bayern thanks to Van Gaal and his case is one of many – Thomas Muller, Holger Badstuber, Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez, Victor Valdes and David Alaba all owe Van Gaal for the chances he gave them.
When you see the calibre of player he has developed from the youth systems and the types of players he has worked with – Rivaldo, Iniesta, Robben, Ribery, Van Persie – you don’t hesistate to think he is fit for the job.