(“I last saw it over there!” Louis ropes in Ryan Giggs to help him look for the plot he lost a while ago)

Louis van Gaal is looking a whole lot less calm as the weeks go by. He isn’t the type to be too bothered about losing a job and the salary that accompanies it. He is bothered, however, by not being able to finish one of his “projects” and by being deemed a failure. His pride does not allow for either of those scenarios.

If he is allowed to carry on in his job as manager of Manchester United he may face one or both in the relatively near future.

Depending upon your rag of choice, Pep Guardiola is either waiting in the wings for van Gaal to be given his marching orders or going to Manchester City. It would seem that one of Manchester’s equivalent to Waldorf and Statler will be being replaced by the bald, bearded Bayern boss.

In fairness to van Gaal he has had a lot of injuries to contend with. For the next game which, as I write, is against Bournemouth, he has nine first team players unavailable through injury. Manchester City have also suffered an injury crisis to their better players, and Arsenal most certainly have, so it is a situation which is not unique to United.

It is possible, of course, to spin it differently. The first team squad consists of 25 players, consequently van Gaal still has 16 from which to choose. The fact that he obviously doesn’t consider the majority of them to be first team material says more about his transfer policy and what he actually got for nearly £300 million, than it does about the players who are available to him.

Arsene Wenger, for example, has managed to find ways to continue challenging for the Premier League title whilst remaining in the Champions League with an injury list similar to United and, very recently, including Alexis Sanchez, who has been their best player and matchwinner on numerous occasions.

He has been fortunate in that Mesut Ozil, his ‘other’ best player, has managed to steer clear of injuries and it is ironic that Ozil finally signed for Arsenal after waiting in vain for a call from United, who didn’t think they needed him.

If van Gaal is to be replaced then another candidate would be Carlo Ancelotti, although in Italy he spent many more years not winning trophies than he did winning them. He could be a good fit at Old Trafford, all the same.

The other problem facing van Gaal is that he appears to be ageing prematurely. At 64 he can’t be looked upon as old these days but some of his actions make him seem older. How else can he explain taking off Juan Mata, United’s best player in the Wolfsburg game, and replacing him with Nick Powell, whose previous game had been in the 4-0 defeat by MK Dons? How else can he explain all the flak regularly heading his way from the likes of Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Owen and Roy Keane? How else can he explain Ryan Giggs’ apparent reluctance to defend him or indeed even say anything in the face of all this criticism?

It could be the case, of course, that Giggs agrees with his old team mates. In which case he is highly unlikely to come out and speak against them and this would certainly explain why he doesn’t defend his boss.

Whatever the outcome, van Gaal is slowly but surely losing the fans. There are rumours that the players are unhappy with the training so he needs to address that before he starts losing the players. At the moment he seems to have the confidence of the United board but that, in all honesty, doesn’t count for a lot, just ask David Moyes. He must have felt fairly secure with a seven year contract.

Louis van Gaal needs to turn things around reasonably quickly. He will probably be given more money in January when he needs to buy wisely, particularly a world class goalscorer. He needs to do well in the FA Cup and the Europa League and it would be helpful, although unexpected, if he could win the Premier League.

If he fails in all three then I expect his retirement to be brought forward by a year, if he lasts that long.


Have your say

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.