Well, who saw that coming? Manchester United have confirmed today that Louis van Gaal will be the next permanent manager of the club. The Dutchman becomes United's first non-British or Irish manager, and will begin his new three-year deal after the Netherlands' participation in this summer's World Cup has ended.
Van Gaal is one of Europe's most experienced and well-regarded coaches. His management career began at Ajax, where he assembled one of the finest club sides in the history of the modern game, leading players such as Clarence Seedorf, Jari Litmanen and the De Boer twins to three league titles, and winning the Champions League in 1995. Since then, he has won titles with Barcelona (in 1998 and 1999), AZ (2009) and Bayern Munich (2010). Most recently, he led the Netherlands national team to the 2014 World Cup with a qualifying record of 9 wins and a draw.
He comes with a reputation for monstrous egoism, for healthy contempt towards he believes to be his footballing inferiors (which is more or less everyone), and for generally being a bit ... unpredictable. However, Edwin van der Sar recently described him as the best coach he'd ever had, and he comes with a commitment to attacking football and to the promotion and development of youth. Whatever happens, this promises to be fun.
Stay tuned here for further updates.