After the turbulance of the David Moyes ‘era’ at Manchester United, Louis Van Gaal has a series of issues that need to be sorted out before the beginning of the season in order to ensure it will be a successful one for the Red Devils.
New left back
With Patrice Evra confirming that he is leaving Manchester United and Alexander Buttner being far from impressive in the few games that he has played, Van Gaal will need to find a new left back sooner rather then later. Luke Shaw has been heavily linked with a move to United but at a cost of £27M. United may opt for a cheaper option as outlaying that much for a left back seems excessive.
Shipping out the deadwood
A lot of players showed under Moyes that they are certainly not Manchester United quality. The likes of Cleverley, Nani, Fellaini, Hernandez did not put in the sort of performances expected for a club of such great stature and Van Gaal may see this as a way of building a transfer kitty to spend on real quality if he can get the right money for the players mentioned above.
Juan Mata's position
Man Utd shelled out £37M for the Spaniard and after a good start he faded as the season went on. Moyes favoured playing Rooney just behind the striker which moved Mata into a wider position. He struggled to perform in this position and went missing in numerous games for Man Utd. When he was moved into the centre with Shinji Kagawa, United looked far more threatening with him in the middle than him on the wing.
Replacing Vidic and Ferdinand
This will be a key area for Van Gaal to look at. Losing two very experienced figures in Vidic and Ferdinand who featured at the heart of the defence last season. Smalling and Jones are improving with age and maybe called upon, but many will expect Van Gaal to go big on at least one new centre back and possibly another one to cover for Smalling and Jones.
Keeping the players faith
In the end what cost Moyes the job was that he completely lost the dressing room and the players seemed to have no faith in the manager. Van Gaal is an arrogant, efficient control freak and although it appears a successful way of managing with a lot of big personalities at United he will have to play his cards right early on to make sure he doesn’t make the same mistake and lose the players early on. With his close friend Van Persie expected to be made captain it seems as if this won’t happen.
Keeping Wayne Rooney happy
Rooney’s importance to Manchester United was shown by David Moyes when they gave him a £300,000 a week new deal and under Moyes was promised the captaincy at the end of the season after the departure of Nemanja Vidic. Van Persie is likely to be made captain as him and Van Gaal are very close friends and this will cause a stir with Wayne Rooney that Louis may or may not care about. An unhappy Rooney is also an uneffective one and maybe he will hand in yet another transfer request if he doesn’t get his way.
A decision that looks like it has already been finalised with the likely winner being Robin Van Persie. With the likes of Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney also potential candidates, he could opt for one of them but it seems as if his mind has already been made up on this one.
Deep lying playmaker
Michael Carrick is suited to this role, but again like a lot of players he did not really impress this season and is getting on a bit. Toni Kroos has been linked with United as well as Cesc Fabregas and either of these two players would be fantastic additions to the squad and certainly add a lot of creativity from central midfield roles.
Fellaini was bought in to play this role, he was one of the biggest transfer flops of the season costing the club £27M and never really looking comfortable playing in that position. Van Gaal may or may not decide to sell the big Belgian but its definately a problem area that he will need to address. No big team can function without a holding midfielder if you look at Fernandinho at City and Matic at Chelsea it is a role that has become exteremely important in any successful team.
Rejuvenating Robin Van Persie
By the Dutchmans high standards, last term was a poor one for Robin Van Persie. Rumoured to have fallen out with David Moyes early on in the season the focus was on Wayne Rooney throughout the campaign and Van Persie looked moody and disinterested throughout the season. Van Gaal is close to Van Persie and is expected to make him captain and the main man up front for the Red Devils. If he can get Van Persie back to his best there is no reason why he couldn’t be hitting 25/30 league goals next season.