Van Gaal arrives at Man Utd – what are the challenges?

Jul 16, 2014

The Dutchman already has a full in-tray as he takes over at Old Trafford


New Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal arrived at Old Trafford today after turning down the chance of a post World Cup break and flying to England by private jet.

The former Holland boss "was taken to Carrington training ground in a black Chevrolet to take up the reins only four days after guiding Holland to third place at the World Cup in Brazil", reports the Daily Telegraph.

Already his schedule looks hectic, says the paper. He will face the press for the first time on Thursday and heads off on United's now-taditional pre-season tour of the Far East on Friday.

There was a "real buzz" around the club ahead of his arrival says The Guardian, which adds that Van Gaal was in contact with his assistant, Ryan Giggs, even before he arrived in the country.

Van Gaal already has a full in-tray as United chase several big name transfer targets including Arturo Vidal and Thomas Vermaelen, and on his first day as boss he was due to meet the players and take charge of a training session.

In addition to bringing in players, Van Gaal must also decide on the fate of six United players who have between one and two years left on their contracts. "Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverley, Javier Hernandez, Shinji Kagawa, Darren Fletcher, and Ashley Young are all waiting to discover their fate," says the Guardian.

It seems likely to be bleak, suggests the Daily Mail, which notes that Van Gaal has made it clear he likes to work with a squad of around 23. "There is a feeling at Old Trafford that United have opted for quantity over quality in recent years and Van Gaal is keen to slimline his bloated squad."

That is not the only issue he must address.

"Top of Van Gaal's to-do list must be central defence following the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic," says the Telegraph. An "authoritative figure" must be brought in to marshall the back four.

There is also the matter of the appointing a new captain after the departures of Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand. "The battle for supremacy between Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie has occupied too many pages of newsprint for United’s liking in recent times," claims the Mail, and Van Gaal will have choose which of them gets the armband.

Van Persie is a favourite of Van Gaal, but Rooney can press his case while the Dutchman takes a post-World Cup break.

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