When the eccentric Dutchman was first announced as the new main man down at Old Trafford for the upcoming season, Louis van Gaal brought with him a wealth of experience that most believed would serve him well at Manchester United. Coming in off the back of a strong World Cup campaign with the Netherlands, as well as previously working wonders for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga – it seemed to most that the Red Devils had finally found an adequate replacement for Sir Alex Ferguson.
Life in the Premier League rarely matches initial expectations however. Seeing as van Gaal spent well over £100million on some truly high profile players throughout the summer, Manchester United haven’t exactly had the best of seasons in 2014/21, with their current fourth spot in the table looking particularly vulnerable to say the least.
Last week’s meagre offering allowed Garry Monk’s determined Swansea outfit to complete the double over United this season, so with Bayern’s Pep Guardiola reportedly being touted as a potential replacement for the Dutchman come the end of the season, are Manchester United already starting to grow tired of Louis van Gaal?
Former Manchester United favourite, Gary Neville, has had much to say on the topic of van Gaal’s proposed departure.
Speaking on the potential eventuality that his former side fail to make the top-four this season, the Old Trafford and England star remains resolute that “Louis van Gaal should not be sacked.”
“He has to get the Champions League but, on the other hand, if he didn’t, no, you can’t just sack a manager one year and then sack another manager the year after. Where do you go from there?”
Regardless of their fate come the end of the season, Neville believes that Manchester United should not cause themselves any further instability by becoming a club known for being impatient with their managerial appointments.
“There has to be a level of continuity. I absolutely believe this time there will be continuity at Man United and they will stand by him even if he doesn’t finish in the top four, and that’s the right thing to do.”
Having said that though, many of the Old Trafford faithful will have to think twice about David Moyes’ reign with their team if van Gaal equally disappoints this season. The Dutchman has certainly had a great deal more fire power at his disposal than his Scottish predecessor, yet despite spending a quite frankly obscene amount of cash throughout the summer, the likes of Radamel Falcao, Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria have simply failed to slot in effectively alongside the magnitude of stars already in place at the club.
In light of such developments, just how well would former Barcelona boss, Pep Guardiola, be suited at United should Louis van Gaal ultimately face the sack? The Champions League winning manager certainly brings with him a great deal of contacts at the Nou Camp, and with talk of Lionel Messi eventually leaving his boyhood club doing the rounds of late, Manchester United fans would inevitably be excited by the potential transfers on offer should the Spaniard be appointed.
On the other hand, Guardiola has no real incentive to leave his current post at Bayern Munich at the moment – especially if the Red Devils fail to qualify for the Champions League. The 44-year-old former player already has some world class talent at his disposal in Germany – Philip Lahm, Arjen Robben and Robert Lewandowski to name just a few – and as Bayern have looked particularly formidable this campaign, thoughts of achieving the ultimate success in Europe will largely be dominating Guardiola’s mind at this current stage.
Come the end of the season though, and everybody’s perspective might just be that little bit different. Gary Neville’s analysis remains a sensible one however. Manchester United do not want to become known as unstable and untrustworthy in their decision making. Whilst Louis van Gaal may certainly be flattering to deceive at this moment, a knee-jerk dismissal of the Dutchman really wouldn’t do the famous English club any favours in this seemingly transitional period of their history. Regardless of the excitement surrounding Guardiola, Louis van Gaal is United’s man.