It’s fair to say that Louis van Gaal is in a difficult period of his Manchester United career. He never really got the dream start he wanted and the likelihood of his sacking seems to be increasing with every passing game as this United team (despite the odd ugly win here and there) are flattering to deceive.
Not all the criticism is warranted however — Van Gaal has steadied the ship somewhat since taking over from David Moyes. Regardless, he’s reached the point where he’s done enough, so here are five reasons why he must leave United.
1. Transfer policy
A team with the status of Manchester United should be making world class signings. More appropriately, the strength of a coach should be in his ability to develop good players into better ones and already made stars into consistent and excellent performers. This is an area Van Gaal has failed miserably. Most notably, the fall of record signing Angel Di Maria whom Van Gaal claimed was not quick enough to suit his style of play.
After his sale, the same Di Maria has reinvented himself and his reputation with some stellar performances for PSG — also being the second best creator in Europe behind Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil at the time of writing. The same can be said of Javier Hernandez whom Van Gaal claimed was not suitable for his philosophy. Predictably, the same Chicharito is now one of the hottest strikers available after notching up an outstanding 18 goals in 21 games for new club Bayer Leverkusen.
Van Gaal’s inability to also transform Memphis Depay especially into the world class player we know he has the potential to be is also something to note. Is it a coincidence that the likes of Depay, Anthony Martial, Di Maria and others all started off well before slowly becoming ineffectual? Why is Ander Herrera constantly benched as well?
Other than that, most of Van Gaal’s signings have been of little or no influence in the names of Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Victor Valdes, Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Sergio Romero. Simply put, a coach who can’t make the best use of his players and get the best out of them — especially ones that he’s bought for a lot of money — should be sacked.
2. Lack of team chemistry
Manchester United are famously known for the intensity and pace with which they keep to their game as all players were well aware of the whereabouts of fellow team-mates.
A good coach should always be able to create a certain balance in his team. With Van Gaal performing experiments on the team with every passing match, his decisions have seen him upset the balance of the side.
It is no wonder that Manchester United currently do not have an established first team and this affects the understanding and chemistry between players. His tactics have also seen Wayne Rooney become a villain as he has been forced to play in a deeper position opposed to his normal striking role where he was a terror to defenders. The Rooney we all know used to score goals for fun under Sir Alex Ferguson. Of course, Van Gaal can’t be to blame for Rooney’s eventual decline that comes with age but who knows what could have happened if he had just kept Rooney in his natural position initially?
With further experiments on team selection, he might just bring the Manchester United squad to a crashing point which the fans and the board won’t want to see.
3. Style of play
Commonly known for their style of football which was embodied by wing play and direct attacking, that style looks to have vanished under Louis van Gaal. As a matter of fact, there is no actual style of play that can be attributed to Manchester United presently as the team just struggles to win matches, lacking any conviction.
Many times, fans have left the stadium before the match is over while other cases have seen the fans frequently chant ”attack, attack!” when United aimlessly keep possession of the ball. It’s no wonder than Van Gaal is now known a boring manager, capable of “curing insomnia.”
The only form of attack Manchester united can give their fans at the moment is a heart attack
— HAMILTON (@ArRsenalll) December 13, 2015
#MUFC manager Louis van Gaal under renewed attack from Paul Scholes after ‘boring’ Cup tie. https://t.co/EebfwUqbWH pic.twitter.com/pcPP8Ji6vY
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) January 10, 2016
To win a match is not enough at a club like Manchester United, the match must be won convincingly — something fans have been accustomed to over the years.
4. Champions League exit
Van Gaal was given a large transfer budget in the summer — there were lot of expectations from his team to compete effectively in England and in Europe. While many fans can forgive him for his poor form in England due to the fact that many teams have improved this season and a lot of shocks have occurred, lack of progress in the Champions League was inexcusable.
A team like Manchester United should be qualifying with top spot from a group with PSV Eindhoven, Wolfsburg and CSKA Moscow, with all due respect. The group was the easiest given to an English club this season and one would have expected Manchester United to qualify top or second at the least.
Here’s what the Champions League exit really means. As much as we know Manchester United for their success, they are also well known for their financial prowess as they once held the top spot for the most valuable club in the world. However, failure to qualify for the Champions League last season (due to a seventh position finish in the Premier League) coupled with a group stage exit this season means less revenue for the club.
As a result of their trophyless run lately (last trophy being the Community Shield in August 2013), Manchester United have slipped to the third most valuable club from top spot in the space of just over two years. If Van Gaal continues to lead the team to poor performances and shocking exits, it might end up affecting the club financially as well.
5. Pep Guardiola is open to the Premier League
Pep Guardiola is an elite football manager. His achievements say it all with 17 trophies in the last eight years — 14 of them with Barcelona and the remaining three with his current club Bayern Munich.
With his contract at Munich set to expire in the summer, Guardiola raised eyebrows as he openly declared he wasn’t extending his current contract and was looking forward to a fresh challenge in managing an English club.
Guardiola’s possession style of play is something that has earned him much praise in the past — the fact that he was able to reciprocate his success at two great clubs is something to be noted. He has also proven he has the ability to manage the best of players such ranging from Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta to Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller. Let’s not forget making good players even better such as Seydou Keita, Jerome Boateng, Juan Bernat and more.
If Manchester United are well in need of a saviour, none are more equipped than Guardiola in saving the situation. A move for Guardiola to Manchester United might just be the rekindling fire they need to get back to winning ways.