clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

An empire-building, exhibitionist tyrant: The case for Louis van Gaal as Manchester United's next manager

Louis van Gaal is a tyrant who will get his genitals out to prove a point and can build a solid foundation for Manchester United. There's a case to say he's the perfect appointment.

Alexander Hassenstein

Perhaps the ultimate metaphor for the sort of tragicomic failure that typified the David Moyes era is the old classic from Waiting for Godot, where the hero removes his belt to hang himself and his trousers fall down, a man literally and figuratively at the end of his tether, reduced to becoming an unwilling punchline.

Louis van Gaal's trousers did not fall down by accident, however, when he told his Bayern Munich charges that he had the balls to drop any of his big-name players. He would do so as easily as he would his trousers and underwear, to demonstrate to any unlikely doubters that he did indeed possess a full set in perfect working order. The transition from Samuel Beckett's character to a man who would remove his trousers and then threaten to string you up personally is probably a good direction for Manchester United to be moving in.

There are significant doubts over Van Gaal. His glory days are behind him, and he has few titles in the past fifteen years. His reign at Bayern Munich may not have ended in a shower of trophies for one of the world's biggest clubs, although the success that followed in the years after have showed the value of his construction of a solid base, in giving the right youngsters their debuts and sorting the wheat from the chaff.

There is also the upgrade in name that would potentially allow United to offset some of the disappointment at not qualifying for the Champions League. If the club really are intent on chasing Toni Kroos, what better man to lead the pursuit than the one who handed him his break? And who better to keen Robin van Persie on his side than someone who has his complete respect?

The main argument against Van Gaal is that he is not a winner, and that he is also not a young man who is likely to only be in the job for a few years even if he does prove a success. But after the failure to acquire José Mourinho or Pep Guardiola, this could be ideal for United. A lot of young coaches are on the move in Europe at the moment, who are two or three years of continued overachievement (Vincenzo Montella, Thomas Tuchel, Roberto Martinez, Mauricio Pochettino, Rudi Garcia, and so on) from being able to truly stake their claim as the rightful heir to Alex Ferguson. They need time, and Van Gaal would allow it.

If United really are a club in transition, they need a man well versed in such things, who is known to not be a one-club wonder. Aside from outside punts like Jurgen Klopp (virtually already out of the running) and Diego Simeone (not known to not be a one-club wonder), the options are few, but in theory, Van Gaal looks like a far better match of man, place and time than David Moyes ever did.