Yesterday marked Louis Van Gaal finally taking up the hot seat at Manchester United. He took his first training session at 5.30 in the evening and faced the press at 3.00pm today. Changes are and have been inevitable at United this summer with gaping holes in the squad and a number of individuals who are just not good enough. A mass clearout is what the fans have been calling for and it seems Van Gaal may be in line to please the mob as reports today are suggesting that as many as ten players face the chop in an overhaul of the United squad.
Wholesale changes can be risky as managing change is crucial to a clubs success. Van Gaal is known for making huge changes in every job he takes and not just changes to the team but the entire structure of a football club. Barcelona and Bayern had their youth set ups revamped under Van Gaal and it is no coincidence that they started bringing through exceptional young talent during and the years following the Dutch mans departure. Several youth academy players, including Pereira and the impressive Janko, trained with the first team squad yesterday. Perhaps selling some of United’s high earners will clear the way for these players to deputise this season. In the firing line are Moyes first signing and Fergie’s last; Wilf Zaha and Maruane Felliani. Selling these players, who only joined in the past 18 months, could be Van Gaal clearing the club of the vestiges of his predecessors. It is now Louis Van Gaal time and he will ensure everyone at the club knows that.
Those who could be following Zaha and Felliani out the door are Chicharito, Nani, Young, Cleverly, Kagawa and Powell. Whilst a few of these players have bags of talent perhaps they will not fit into the philosophy Van Gaal is sure to implement at Manchester United. Whereas Moyes attempted to play as many stars as he could in hope of winning a game, Van Gaal will deploy a clear and fluid tactical system which will take precedence over any individual in the squad. Therefore a clearout may further fund his intentions in bringing in players who will fit into this philosophy. It will not be the mythical Manchester United way of playing but the Louis Van Gaal way of playing just as it was the Sir Alex Ferguson way of playing. Having control over a club is what makes not just a manger but a club and the Dutch maestro will need this control in order to be a success, even if this means selling players who the fans adore.
Whether a mass clearout is the right move, or will even happen, remains to be seen but what we can be sure of is that the new manager will not be afraid to make big decisions and to stand against anyone within the club who gets in his way. I personally do not think these faces will all depart in one window but they will slowly be moved out as Van Gaal builds the next Manchester United team capable of emulating the success of United’s newest and most famous director.