It has not taken Van Gaal long to get to work on moulding Manchester United in his own image. The Dutch manager had made it clear that he wants to get the Devils back to Premier League supremacy, and was already advancing the names of players he was hoping to bring to Manchester. Reports suggest that Van Gaal is close to multiple signings designed to get United back to the top of the table, and is looking to a pair of Dutch midfielders on top of his other key targets.
Last season’s results simply were not acceptable by Man U’s high standards, and Van Gaal was brought in because many believed that his pedigree and exacting demeanour could reverse the clubs post-Fergie fortunes. A number of players are to leave the club in the off-season, notably the defensive core of Vidic, Ferdinand and Evra that United have relied on for the past several years. Furthermore, almost all midfielders not named Ryan Giggs have been questioned as to their efforts and abilities. So with access to some deep pockets, Van Gaal has already started the process of building the team he feels can win Barclay’s.
Two Dutch midfielders are apparently on list of players United is looking for this summer. The key to the Red Devils midfield may be Kevin Strootman, a failed target for Moyes last year. Van Gaal is intimately familiar with the Dutch international, who has been, in many ways, the lynchpin of the International squad; in fact, his knee injury forced van Gaal to change formations in their recent friendly against Ecuador. New reports also indicate that Memphis Depay, the left winger at Strootman’s former club PSV Eindhoven is also a target. Van Gaal has named him to the Dutch World Cup side, and he would provide United with the explosiveness needed to threaten opponents on the flank as well as from set pieces.
With the defensive hole glaring, Van Gaal immediately looked to shore up their back line with Mats Hummels and Luke Shaw. The 18-year-old Shaw is reportedly set to be the first signing. This would be a big summer for the youngster, then, as with only one international cap to his name for the senior side, he is already booked to Brazil for the World Cup. Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels had also been linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer, but a new report has quoted the defenders father as suggesting that Hummels has no plans of leaving Germany.
In addition to the obvious defensive needs of the team, Van Gaal seems to be pursuing a number of midfielders to help fill the gaps that Ferguson did not deal with prior to his departure. Reports suggest that this midfield plan includes the one who got away last year. Cesc Fabregas has been told that he can leave by the Catalan giants, following a disappointing year for both player and club. This years £30-million offer would be less than what Moyes was set to spend on the player last year, and would make it much easier for United to dispose of Fellaini. The Belgian not only had a horrible season in Manchester, but is a symbol of the failed experiment with Moyes, and his exit would be widely applauded by legions of fans. The most imminent signing in the midfield though appears to be Bayern Munich midfielder Toni Kroos, with ManU hoping to sign him prior to the World Cup.
With Shaw and Kroos reportedly close to a deal, Van Gaal will have already made strides towards his goal of revitalizing the fortunes of the Devils. Should the rumours of Depay and Strootman prove to be true, and whispers of a bid for Arjen Robben have any merit, the Dutch wave looking to hit Manchester United this summer may just carry the club back to the top of the Premier League.
Commentary by Bryan A. Jones