Every Manchester United fan this season is quickly seeing why Louis van Gaal was fired at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Ajax. He has become the marmite manager. Fans love him in the first few months of his reign, and then his actions quickly warrant one to hate him. This season at United, he has very much made the fans turn against him, and has only been kept in the job thanks to an inexperienced board and a bumbling chief executive in Ed Woodward.
Van Gaal’s other add-on to his management ‘style’ is successfully alienating top players at his clubs. Victor Valdes through not fault of his own this season was successfully pushed out by LVG, who bought in the successful goalkeeper for free. A year on from him joining the club, he was quickly edged out and has joined Standard Liege on loan after being kept from training with the first team or playing for the U-21’s.
Valdes did little wrong, however, Van Gaal continuously seems to alienate players wherever he is, highlighting a lack of man-management skills. As a football manager, you need good man-management skills, so it is no surprise that nobody sings the praises of the United boss. When you consider that last summer alone he let go of fan favourites Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez, Angel di Maria, Rafael and more, it illustrates just how much of a a professional alienator he is.
As mentioned earlier, it hasn’t just been at Manchester United where Van Gaal has successfully purged the club of good talent. At Barcelona, Van Gaal alienated Rivaldo, the Brazilian who was at the pinnacle of his career. He also fell out with Hristo Stoichkov and striker Givoanni. Even back then he was alienating Valdes, promoting him from the ‘B’ team and then relegating him back.
At Ajax, too, as the director of football, LVG alienated top striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Then at Bayern, he let go of club legend Mar van Bommel early on in his career. He also sold top Brazilian defender Lucio, whom then went on to win the Champions League that season with Inter Milan against Bayern Munich. One of the most high-profile ones at Bayern was the sale of two-season top scorer Luca Toni, who did nothing wrong but was immediately relegated to the bench under Van Gaal. The relationship he shared with Franck Ribery was also understood to be rocky.
Even as a manager, he has got on the wrong side of people he hasn’t managed, the most high-profile case being between himself and Johan Cruyff. Neither of them have ever got on, with Cruyff believing Van Gaal ruined his hard work at Barcelona. He also got on the wrong side of Ronald Koeman at Ajax, where Van Gaal was sporting director. it was believed that Van Gaal constantly undermined Koeman, making their tenure difficult. Even people like Hugo Sanchez, who was in disbelief at Van Gaal selling Hernandez for pittance, and Pedro, who was talked out of a move to United through the way Van Gaal treated Valdes, are examples.
Through his poor man-management, Van Gaal is halting Manchester United from progressing. Even now he is constantly picking Fellaini over Herrera, a player who lives and breathes United and looks like he has the passion of the fans. He is stopping players from joining the club, and until he leaves or retires, United cannot improve. Van Gaal has won trophies in the past, but at the moment his ‘philosophy’ is outdated and ineffective. He is the professional at alienating his players, and until he quits management, there will be more fallings out.