Louis van Gaal has wasted little time stamping his authority at Manchester United by putting 10 first-team players up for sale, according to reports. The Dutchman, who took his first training session at Carrington yesterday, is said to want to trim his squad down from 37 to around 24 to make things more intimate.
Veteran defender Patrice Evra is expected to be the first one out with Juventus his likely destination. Winger Bebé is understood to have been given permission to speak with Benfica. The other players unlikely to have a future at Old Trafford, include Ashley Young, Luis Nani, Tom Cleverley, Anderson, Nick Powell, Marouane Fellaini, Javier Hernández and Wilfried Zaha. Van Gaal has already allowed Alexander Büttner to leave, while Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidić have also left the club. Ryan Giggs retired at the end of last season and is now working as van Gaal’s assistant. The latter wanted to bring Patrick Kluivert with him from the Netherlands national team, but United insisted he took on someone already at the club. Previous boss David Moyes did the opposite and allowed the entire back room staff to leave.
So far, van Gaal has only managed to bring in Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao and Luke Shaw from Southampton, but the Red Devils are expected to sign a further five players. Real Madrid winger Ángel Di María and Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels are two names strongly linked with moves to Old Trafford.
If Louis van Gaal does let 10 players leave United, it would mark the biggest squad overhaul in the history of the club. It also reflects his determination to get United back into the Champions League after a poor 2013/14 saw them fail to qualify for any European football. The former Netherlands, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, and Ajax coach is also said to be keen on giving United’s younger players an opportunity. The likes of Tom Lawrence and James Wilson, both of whom were blooded by then caretaker manager Ryan Giggs at the end of last season, are expected to be given a chance to impress.
Van Gaal was “unveiled” at a press conference today, where he mentioned he could take up to two months to decide on the captaincy. Although he admitted United had excellent facilities, he pointed to the fact the open pitch let in far too much wind and has asked the club to do something about it. United jet off to the United States tomorrow with van Gaal’s first game in charge against LA Galaxy. United will also meet Real Madrid on the tour.
By the time United get back from their pe-season tour of the US, Louis van Gaal will be expecting to have most of his planned new signings all confirmed. A man who is known for his no nonsense approach is also known for usually getting what he wants. With Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal now looking like staying in Italy, van Gaal will want to secure another combative midfielder to complement what he already has in the flair stakes.
Van Gaal is not afraid of upsetting people if it means getting what he wants and so putting 10 players up for sale could be just the start of it. United fans expect to be back at the top of the Premier League come May and so does Louis van Gaal.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd