Unhappy Van Gaal should thank Man U commercial dept

Jul 23, 2014

Old Trafford manager complains about US tour, as he is handed unlimited transfer budget

Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images

Some observers saw trouble brewing between Manchester United's commerical and football operations when Louis van Gaal was unveiled as manager last week, and now the first indication that they might have been right has emerged as the Dutch manager made a thinly veiled attack on the club's pre-season itinerary, designed to please sponsors, during their tour of the USA.

Speaking ahead of his first match in charge of United, against LA Galaxy at the Pasadena Rose Bowl tonight, Van Gaal made it clear that he "does not consider these tours adequate preparation", says the Daily Mail.

When asked about United's brand-aware globehopping the Dutchman responded: "We have to prepare the season and when you have commercial activities and dreadful distances, having to fly a lot and the jet lag, it is not very positive for a good preparation."

He also made it clear that things will be different next time round. "The tour was already arranged and I shall adapt and United will do everything to apply to my rules, but I have said that already."

United have embarked on a tour that, according to the Daily Mirror, has "an intense and hectic schedule, where training sessions and games are worked around the demands of sponsors and commercial ventures, something Van Gaal has already found it hard to accept".

However, United chief executive Ed Woodward appears unfazed by the potential for trouble. Woodward is United's former commercial director and has fostered many of the relationships that now require the club to travel the world.

He is only in his second year as chief executive at Old Trafford but the Daily Telegraph says he "cuts a more settled figure" than he did last season.

"Woodward's confident and competitive personality rarely chimed with the more fretful nature of the former Everton manager and Van Gaal's arrival appears to ensure a shared outlook from manager and chief executive," claims the paper.

And despite his misgivings over United's schedule Van Gaal might have reason to thank Woodward and the club's sponsors after he was told that he was free to break the world transfer record to bring the right player to Old Trafford.

United finished seventh in the Premier League last season and are not in Europe, but despite that Adidas have signed a kit deal worth £75m a year, and Woodward said: "We're not afraid of spending significant amounts of money in the transfer market.

"Whether it's a record or not doesn't really resonate with us. What resonates is an elite player that the manager wants who is going to be a star for Manchester United."

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