Tag Archives: Manchester United

Blind move to Man Utd is imminent

Twenty-four year-old defender/midfielder Daley Blind is set to complete a transfer from Ajax Amsterdam to Manchester United imminently. The reported fee is €18 million (around £14m) writes Alex Pieter.

Blind joins a midfield in Manchester consisting of Juan Mata, Angel di Maria and Ander Herrera and the son of former defender Danny, will be expected to anchor the midfield in a deep, defensive role.

The news comes at a difficult time for the Amsterdammers, who is coming off a defeat to rivals PSV, who look to be keeping their star player, Memphis Depay. Frank de Boer’s side have just been drawn into a difficult Champions League group with European giants Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

The €18 million that Ajax will receive for Blind will help alleviate any hard feelings about his departure. Blind is a very good player, but the money can go a long way for a club like Ajax, provided they spend it wisely, or at all.

With the sale of Blind and other players in the past five seasons, Ajax now has over €85 million to their name (via @Tussendelinies and transfermarket.nl). Ajax fans will now wait to see if Marc Overmars will make a move before the transfer window shuts. The reinging Eredivisie champions are in desperate need of reinforcements if they are to challenge for a fifth straight title. The midfield is now short on depth and no player has stepped up to lay claim to the striker position. Perhaps Overmars is waiting until the January transfer window to see where, and even if, this team needs any additions, but the way PSV are shaping up, by then it could be too late.

Blind’s move had been rumoured for some time, and will help make life for new Manchester United Boss Louis van Gaal a bit easier. Blind played under Van Gaal at this past summer’s World Cup and knows his preferred systems and tactics. He will help bring stability to a new midfield that needs to develop chemistry. It will take time for the midfield to mesh under Van Gaal’s systems, but Blind will help ease the growing pains.

By far, Blind’s greatest attribute is his knowledge of the game and his tactical awareness. Blind has the composition of a field general and future captain. Like all Ajax players, he has had tactics drilled into him from an early age.

However, Daley was not always destined to be great, like many of the other players Ajax have sold off to higher leagues in the past few seasons. In fact, at one point he was nearly sold to fellow Eredivisie side FC Groningen for a fee of just €1.5 million.

Blind’s persistence and drive paid dividends as he developed, first into a starter at Ajax, then a key contributor, and eventually one of the best players in the Eredivisie.

Only time will tell if Blind’s skill set will translate well to the English Premier League. If anything holds Blind back it will be his lack of pace and physicality. However, Christian Eriksen was knocked for the some things during his move to Tottenham Hotspur. Eriksen proved that players from Ajax can makeup for what they lack in pace or physical prowess with the tactical knowledge of the game and technique. If Blind can make a similar impact in Manchester to the one Eriksen has made in North London, it will have been a wise purchase for United.

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Blind to join Man Utd? Agent says not yet

Manchester United and United We Stand Fanzine editor Andy Mitten has said that the Red Devils’ scouts were watching Dutch star Daley Blind at the weekend during their defeat to PSV Eindhoven and also went on to confirm that scouts had informed him that the deal was as good as done for the 24-year-old writes Robbie Dunne.

However today, Blind’s agent Ron Jansen has stated that United are yet to make a bid for the Ajax defender.

Mitten recognized the fact that it had not come from an official source and that the scouts didn’t have to stand it up against anything due to the fact that they are not journalists or official sources but he did say “There is talk in Holland that Blind is on his way to Old Trafford” while also saying “word among the scouts is that it is a done deal.”

Blind starred at the World Cup under the management of Louis van Gaal and can play in several roles in a Van Gaal style system. The positions he plays also happen to be areas of concern for Manchester United, defensive midfielder and left wing back and left centre back in a three-man defence three areas that Van Gaal will be looking to strengthen before the transfer window closes.

Blind himself said he hadn’t heard anything but was quoted as saying, “we will see what happens in the next few weeksc”, which was two weeks ago. There appears to be some movement behind the scenes on this one and it is not secret that the new Red Devils’ manager is a fan of Blind.

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Roma should cash in on Kevin Strootman now before his inevitable move to Man Utd

Louis van Gaal is a keen admirer of Kevin Strootman and would love to bring his countryman to Old Trafford to strengthen a midfield crying out for reinforcements. David Moyes did make this a priority last summer when he first arrived as manager. He attempted to make a swoop for Cesc Fabregas, who was at the time with Barcelona, as well as Marrouane Fellaini, who he had managed at Everton. The Scot was only able to land Fellaini during a transfer window that became a debacle for United. In truth, neither of Moyes’s primary targets are the type of players the team needs writes Joe Maloney.

Ander Herrera has been impressive since leaving Athletic Bilbao for £29 million. He adds comfort in possession that we have become accustomed to seeing from a classy Spanish midfielder. He evidently has the confidence in playing the ball forward which will enable plenty of chances for the likes of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.

Michael Carrick, now the oldest player at the club, is out for a number of months after sustaining a knee injury. Had the England midfielder been fit, evidence illustrated last season indicated his best days were perhaps behind him. Tom Cleverley has not developed into the promising player he once appeared and the same applies for Anderson. Darren Fletcher has impressed during pre-season, but has not featured in over 20 league appearances during a season, since 2010-2011. That leaves the disappointing Fellaini. The Belgian midfielder was probably the least natural fit of a Manchester United player brought to the club in recent memory. Employed in a holding role, he does not possess the movement and struggles to maintain possession. Often, Fellaini is found wanting, in what has been billed as his best position and usually finds the game passes him by. This is a midfield that has been starved of top-class replacements since the departures of Owen Hargreaves and Paul Scholes. It was the reason behind Scholes’s return to the side after his original retirement.

Although Strootman is recovering from a serious knee injury, sustained last March, Van Gaal is a keen admirer of the midfielder and would like to bring him in. David Moyes discarded the opportunity to sign the Roma player. He also called off the chance to sign Thiago from Barcelona before he joined Bayern Munich. Strootman has only recently started light training and still facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines. However, with United’s essential need in midfield, speculation has risen that a bid could be submitted before the transfer window shuts at the end of the month. Roma coach Rudi Garcia was quick to play down this rumour after Roma’s 3-2 defeat to LVG’s team during the club’s tour of America.

“Maybe after a three-digit offer, then we will sit down and think about it” said Garcia.

Last season the midfield was never more exploited, in both matches, against eventual champions Manchester City. City’s dynamic players Yaya Toure and Fernandinho were far too much for the likes of Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley or Fellaini to handle. Any top-side midfield in the modern game expresses high amounts of speed, power, urgency, movement and ball retention. None of those components you could label at the Red’s centre midfield in the last campaign. Some could say it isn’t something they have displayed for a number of years since losing the likes of Paul Scholes and Owen Hargreaves. Strootman portrays great strength, drive and stability that would match well to the side’s capabilities.

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Daley Blind would consider move to Manchester United

Despite the continuous reports in the English media, Ajax left-back Daley Blind insists has not heard the rumours linking him with a potential transfer to Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United, although he has stated he would consider a move if a ‘nice option becomes available’ writes Will Burns.

Reports indicate that new Man Utd boss Van Gaal is keen to add the 24-year-old to his squad at Old Trafford after he played a starring role in Holland’s unexpected progession to the semi-finals of the World Cup this past summer in Brazil.

Talking to Fox Sports Nederland after today’s 3-1 win away to AZ Alkmaar, Blind denied any suggestions linking him to the Red Devils said: “I have nothing to report, I’m happy here at Ajax.”

Although the defender refused to rule out the possibility of leaving the Amsterdammers if the right club approached him: “I certainly don’t need to leave and I am happy with all the support I receive here but if a nice option becomes available, then we’ll talk and then we’ll see.”

Blind has been with the reigning Eredivisie champions since the age of 8 years old and head coach Frank de Boer has already admitted that the club would not stand in Blind’s way if they received a suitable offer this summer for him.

Last week De Boer spoke to De Telegraaf and said: “We all know that if there is a price that we could not refuse, if that is offered then we’ll wish him all the best. But I have not heard anything so far, so I am assuming that he will still stay for another year.

Although De Boer did suggest that he thinks the player is ready for a big move: “I think it’s best for him, but on the other hand if the temptation is there, if such a big club comes in, he could adapt well.”

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Dutchman interested in move to Man Utd

Manchester United target and Netherlands World Cup star Daley Blind has admitted that he would be open to a move to Manchester if new manager Louis van Gaal were to make an offer for him.

The Ajax defender has been constantly linked with a summer move to Old Trafford given the fact that Blind fits perfectly into the new 3-5-2 model of play that Van Gaal is implementing at the club.

Blind said, “For me, it is just about waiting but I am happy here in Amsterdam” and went on to say that “if something comes along his path, I will think about it.”

His focus remains on Ajax, but he finished the interview by saying, “we will see what happens next week”. Whether or not van Gaal has set a deadline for a new arrival remains to be seen but it seems quite strange that Blind would mention a specific time as to when he is expecting something to happen.

Ajax head coach Frank de Boer also weighed in by saying that “he will make the right choice and if he goes to a big club, he deserves it.” but went on to say that the defender would be better of staying in Amsterdam for another year to develop the quite competent skill set that he already boasts.

Manchester United recently lost out in the Thomas Vermaelen sweepstakes to Barcelona with the former Arsenal captain moving to Spain for a fee believed to be in the region of £13 million.

It is no secret that Manchester United are in the market for a left-footed defender and Blind is probably the most realistic target at this point in time. He is affordable, up for the move, knows Van Gaal and his system, and is versatile in what he can offer the club.

The 24-year-old has appeared for Ajax 100 times since his debut in 2008 scoring three goals during that time. He is also a fully fledged Dutch international footballer with 19 caps to his name, and the son of former Ajax footballer Danny Blind.

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Spurs and Man Utd target considers move

Highly-rated PSV winger Memphis Depay, believed to be a target for Premier League duo Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, has said that he will consider leaving the Eindhoven club.

The 20-year-old impressed at the World Cup finals in Brazil this summer after an excellent campaign in the Eredivisie and now Depay has admitted that interest from the bigger clubs in Europe would prompt him to think about a move.

“I have done my time at PSV but if big clubs from big leagues ask, I will think about it. There is lots of interest but there is definitely an option to stay” he said. “I understand fans want me to play well this season in Eindhoven, but I’m one who decides how my career continues, no one else.”

Depay is under contract at PSV until June 2017 and it is reported that it would take a fee of over €20 million for PSV to consider the player leaving. In the player’s mind, one would have to say Manchester United, now managed by Louis van Gaal, would be the favourites to sign Depay. Former Oranje coach, Van Gaal was working closely with the winger in last month’s World Cup.

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Roma rule out selling Strootman to Man Utd

AS Roma manager Rudi Garcia has ruled out selling Dutch international midfielder Kevin Strootman. On the eve of Roma playing Manchester United in a pre-season friendly, it is thought that new Red Devils manager Louis Van Gaal is interested in signing the 24-year-old.

Garcia said: “Strootman is a Roma player, he will be a Roma player this year. There is no doubt about that. Only he can say whether he wants to stay but it was never an issue for him to go to another club. There is no question of it.”

“Strootman is following a normal recovery programme,” said Garcia. “He has stayed in Boston to work with our physios and he will start running any time soon.” The central midfielder sustained a cruciate knee ligament injury in March, which ruled him out for the Netherlands at the World Cup in Brazil.

Van Gaal is thought to be a huge admirer of Strootman who he described along with Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben as one of his three captains in the Dutch national team.

Due to Strootman’s injury, Van Gaal had to change the Netherlands formation from 4-3-3 to 5-3-2 as he felt that he did not have a central midfielder of the same quality as the former PSV Eindhoven man. With the midfielder seemingly having returned from injury quicker then expected reports in Italy claim United may make a £30 million bid. Roma however don’t have to sell as they unlike the Red Devils can offer Champions League football and Strootman dependent on his fitness may not even pass a medical were a bid to be accepted.

If Strootman was to leave Roma to join Manchester United then it is most likely to happen in the January transfer window or next summer when United are in a better position to negotiate and with the player having fully recovered form his long term injury.

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Daley Blind could be Man Utd’s surprise signing

Since Louis van Gaal was announced as the new Manchester United manager in late June, if you are Dutch and not linked with a move to Old Trafford then you can count yourself unfortunate. Speculation around who the new boss is going to bring with him was always going to be elevated because of the third place finish they achieved which was well above expectations writes Joe Maloney.

A number of eye catching displays were noticed throughout the tournament especially after the 5-1 and 3-0 thrashings to Spain and Brazil.  In truth, you wouldn’t have found many people picking the likes of Nigel De Jong, Stefan De Vrij, Wesley Sneijder Memphis Depay and Jordy Clasie as the players who were going to reinvigorate a team that finished its worst ever Premier League campaign in seventh place. It is clear, Manchester United require an influx of new faces if they are to mount a serious title push this coming season.

One player who should be high on the list however is Daley Blind. A man who was very familiar to the Dutch management structure for this tournament, with his father Danny being employed as LVG’s right hand man. Blind, 24 who graduated through the famous Ajax academy (a club close to Van Gaal’s heart) possesses a number of qualities that would ensure him to be an important player in the new United regime.

His outstanding display at left wing back, against defending champions Spain, was one of the outstanding performances of the tournament. Few forget Robin van Persie’s remarkable diving head was met from an outstanding cross field ball from Blind. Left-back, his most natural position, is something United will need cover for because of the recent sale of Patrice Evra to Juventus. There is no other recognised left back remaining except for new signing Luke Shaw.

Although Shaw has been brought in from Southampton for £27 million, it will be impossible to ask an eighteen year old to play his first full season at one of the biggest clubs in the world without a dip in form or injury. Blind has demonstrated his ability to play at wing back, should Van Gaal decide to utilize the 5-3-2 system that worked so well for the Netherlands over the summer.

One of the attractions to Van Gaal’s style of management is his ability to recognise things are not working how he would like and switch to a different system that his players know like the back of their hand. He did this a number of times during the tournament, which saw Blind perform well in a slightly deeper defensive role, while the team changed to a vintage 4-3-3 formation. He has also tailored his game to be a useful central defender. The new boss has made it clear to the clubs hierarchy that it is a priority to bring in players within this area after losing the experienced figures Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. The only recognised centre defenders remaining in the squad are Johny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, all of which struggled with injuries and form last season.

After beating LA Galaxy in their first pre season game 7-0, Van Gaal insisted United would continue playing the 5-3-2 when the season began. Therefore, it is obvious signings will need to be made. Darren Fletcher finished the match Pasadena at the back because of the lack of depth available. Daley’s international team mate Stefan De Vrij has also been linked with a move to Old Trafford, although he appeared to struggle whenever tactics were switched to a 4-3-3 system and he had only one central partner. De Vrij has been put up for sale by Feyenoord since the conclusion of the World Cup which casts major doubts over his capabilities.

The most valuable problem Blind will be able to solve in United’s team is the holding midfield role vacated by the injury to Michael Carrick. Although Carrick remains an important player for the reds, it is obvious this area of the team requires refreshing. Currently, it lacks pace, power, energy, drive, creativity and stability. Ander Herrera is an almost certain starter next term yet it is apparent van Gaal would like to add to this area. Marouane Fellaini, brought in by David Moyes for a extravagant fee of £27 million is not good enough for a club of United’s stature. Darren Fletcher is unlikely to ever be the player he once was, before his unfortunate illness, and Tom Cleverley has failed to live up to the promise he once suggested.

Blind was a regular in the Ajax side that culminated in being crowned League champions last season. At the age of 24, he has the majority required, yet years ahead of him to establish himself in the middle of the park. His naturally defensive mind-set may profit Herrera, also in his first year with the club. Herrera, who was second to Fabregas in attempting through balls in La Liga last year, will be expected to create opportunities for Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. At the same time he is very comfortable on the ball and uses possession well. National team mate Nigel De Jong is regularly criticised for his passing ability, therefore making him a better option.

Another Dutchman who will likely be signed by Van Gaal is Kevin Strootman. He is a big fan of the Roma anchor man, however the serious knee injury picked up last season ruled him out of the World Cup and he has only just recently started training. Therefore it is unlikely Strootman will be signing for United this summer. That is a possible deal likely to be revisited in January or next summer.

The new United boss has said he wants to assess his options before making any further signings this summer. However, it is predicted a number of investments will be made before the transfer window shuts at the end of August. Deals may happen late in the window. The club starts the season without having to play any of last season’s top six teams in the first six fixtures of the new campaign. Therefore the panic for deals to be completed isn’t as frantic as in past seasons. If United are to regain the title from neighbours Manchester City next May, they will have to have the best squad because of the strains the Premier League creates. Flexibility is key for the different types of opposition that will be faced. Consequently the signing of Daley Blind may not be the biggest signing Manchester United make this summer but it may just be the valuable one that helps Louis van Gaal deliver success in his first season at Old Trafford.

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The Dutch prodigy targeted by Tottenham and Man Utd

Memphis Depay is a name on everybody’s lips after he showed himself to be one of the brightest talents in football at this summer’s World Cup with two goals and one assist. During the tournament he became the youngest Dutch player to score at a World Cup at the age of just 20. He was nominated for the best young player of the tournament award, but was beaten to the accolade by Paul Pogba, but it’s clear that Depay is one of the most exciting young players in the world.

 

It’s not surprising that he has been linked with a move to England as Tottenham and Manchester United have both been linked, but it is believed it would take a fee upwards of £15m to get him, with PSV keen not to miss out on a big pay day for the player that needed a lot of development, especially when it came to the mental side of the game.

Although he is now known by some as the ‘Dutch Cristiano Ronaldo’, he had a lot of problems in his teenage years. He was a complicated child and was designated a life coach by PSV, who referred to Depay as ‘very angry’. The World Cup star struggled to adapt to the set up at the Dutch club, mainly due to his problems with authority. This developed from the problems he went through with his parents, who divorced when the winger was only four years of age, causing a great deal of emotional stress. It remains evident to this day as he wears ‘Memphis’ on the back of his shirt as he doesn’t feel a connection with his father or his name. Every great footballer normally has a troubling story and Depay is no different.

He overcame his personal issues to focus on football, and featured for Holland in several age groups, highlighting how he was always ahead of children of the same age when it came down to ability. In 2011, he was part of the under 17 side which won the European U17 Championship, scoring in the final. His experience at youth tournaments will have helped him a lot this summer when he excelled at his first senior tournament and nobody would doubt his ability to shine at more major tournaments in the future. He is often seen as a character who sometimes becomes over confident and even cocky when it comes to his own ability, but self belief is crucial in reaching the top of the game, and that is exactly where Depay is headed.

Depay was only 17 when he made his PSV debut in the Dutch Cup during an 8-0 demolition of WSB Noordwijkerhout, making his name with two goals. Yet he didn’t make his Eredivisie debut until he was a year older, making a cameo appearance against Feyenoord in 2012. His first league goal came against Heerenveen in a 5-1 victory, despite only being brought on for the closing stages of the match. It was clear he was going to become a key player for PSV very quickly, playing in 20 league matches during the 2012-13 season, but it was last season that he became a consistent starter, featuring in 32 matches.

After establishing himself at PSV, he quickly became one of the best players in the Eredivisie. Last season he netted 12 goals and managed to get 7 assists, while he also managed to score his first ever European goal. This summer saw him add his first international goal against Australia in a very nervy match for the Dutch, clearly showing his determined character. He wasn’t struck down by nerves, which happens to a lot of established players at international tournaments, let alone young players finding their way in the game. It’s clear Depay is only going one way and he may need to leave the Eredivisie to achieve his goals, the only question is whether that will be this summer, or at a later date.

For those who are unfamiliar with Depay, he is a player who can play all across the attacking positions, but it best suited to playing wide left. He is somebody who likes to dribble with the ball and has excellent ball control. His pace is crucial to his game as he can often use it to beat defenders of to make runs in behind the opposition defence, while he is also very skillful which makes him difficult to defend against. Depay is most dangerous from range as he has a terrific long shot, which resulted in a lot of goals last season. He is equally dangerous from free kicks. His main weakness is his decision making as he can often shoot when he has better options around him, but that is a trait common in young players and it will start to fade with experience.

It’s is unquestionable that the Dutch international is an exciting talent, whose reputation has been enhanced after his impressive performances at the World Cup, but it would be a gamble for a side to pay a big transfer fee for him. He has only had one full season as a first team regular and still has a lot to develop, in order to become a consistently good performer. It may be in his best interest to remain in the Eredivisie for another season to develop further, before making the move to a bigger league. It would do him no good to make a move to early and stagnate on the bench at a club like Tottenham who have a lot of attacking talent. A move to Manchester United may be perfect as he will be working with a manager he knows and the competition will be less fierce. He clearly has the right character to progress in the game, but a young player relies a lot on timing when it comes to his first big move. Is this summer the right time to leave for pastures new? The jury is out on that one.

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Feyenoord reject bid for Man Utd target

Feyenoord have rejected a €6m bid for defender Stefan de Vrij from Serie A side Lazio and it now appears that Louis van Gaal may be in the driving seat to take the 22-year-old to Old Trafford.

It is understood that the Eredivisie giants want around €12m and Feyenoord sporting director Martin van Geel has spoke to RTV Rijnmond and stated if the club received an acceptable offer than they would not stand in the player’s way if he wished to depart the Rotterdam club.

“It’s logical for him to leave but it has to be for the right club for Stefan at the right price,” Van Geel said. “I am happy that we did not accept Lazio’s offer as it was too low. A second higher offer has not been received as of yet.”

Sources in Italy suggest that Lazio are thought to be lining up a counter-bid, however, it is unlikely to be near the €12m figure that the Rotterdam side value him at.

Van Geel continued: “Until a sufficient offer has been received then Stefan will be a Feyenoord player after he returns from his leave after the World Cup.”

New Manchester United boss Van Gaal led De Vrij and his Oranje team-mates to third place in the World Cup this summer and now beginning life at Old Trafford has led to many stories linking members of the impressive Dutch squad to a move to Manchester.

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Van Gaal promises entertaining football at Man Utd

Former Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal was unveiled as the new manager of Manchester United today at Old Trafford with promises of entertaining football and more intimacy on the training ground at Carrington.

Van Gaal took an unfancied Netherlands side to a World Cup semi-final and only then lost out narrowly to Argentina on penalties.

An unfancied Manchester United side, who finished seventh last season, will benefit from van Gaal’s deiscipline, tenacity and know how. While Van Gaal was not willing to give away to much, his number two at the World Cup, Patrick Kluivert, asserted how Van Gaal would be definitely trying to win the title in his first season, and went on to throw his name in the hat regarding a coaching position with the club, via an interview with TalkSport.

There has been a rash of speculation reagrding the players that Van Gaal is looking to axe, with Anderson, Nani, Wilfried Zaha, and Ashley Young some of the names mentioned. The Manchester United squad leave for their US tour today with Anderson staying behind to do work at Carrington, meaning the Brazilian has been on the end of several media reports today.

The Dutch coach was introduced alongside club legend Bobby Charlton at 3pm. Van Gaal was full of praise for Chalrton and his influence on the English game before offering his first glimpse of the icy figure that he is sometime sportrayed as, when asked about predictions on United’s success, “I will not give predictions. It is the biggest club in the world. When you see my career you can see what I have won. The future will show if I can do that again.”

This was before sending out a warning to any clubs threatening to steal United’s crown as England’s biggest club, “’It is a great challenge because of that and that is why I chose this club. I have coached Barcelona, Ajax and Bayern Munich who are all No 1 in their country. Now I am at Manchester United which is No 1 in England.”

The speculation linking players with moves away means little to Van Gaal, however, who appears quick to give every player a chance using his innovative tactics, “’Shaw and Herrera were already on the list. I gave my approval because I like them. I want to see the (current) players perform with my philosophy.”

A lot has been said about the importance of Van Gaal’s captain within his squad and the new manager reiterated this point, “All the players are a possible candidate. But I have to get to know them. The captain’s role is very important and I need time.” before going on to state the obvious following questions about himself, “‘I am democratic. I am empathetic to human beings and I have a strong personality.” and this was also before the inevitable was mentioned, Alex Ferguson. Ferguson and van Gaal are said to enjoy a certain amount of control, but van Gaal claims there is a difference between being autocratic and strong personality.

A relationship with Sir Alex is something that van Gaal says he is looking forward to cultivating, while mentioning that sharing a glass of wine is something that he would enjoy. Despite the fact that Ferguson is now retired, he still holds a very special place at Manchester United.

A massive amount of Van Gaal’s players are young, inexperienced and unknown. This is something the Dutchman certainly tries to instill in his squads, stating that experience is not a very big factor for him.

So it seems Louis van Gaal is the same man as we thought he was. Big on bringing in youngsters, quick with a phrase to journalists speaking out of turn, and always quick to defend his philosophies and management style. David Moyes lacked the kind of personality to make it at the top level, but van Gaal certainly looked at home and confident during his first press conference with his new club.

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Van Gaal and RVP on their Man Utd future

As the curtain came down on World Cup 2014, Louis van Gaal and his captain Robin van Persie were asked several questions about their return to Manchester United among other things following their 3-0 defeat of hosts Brazil in the third place play-off.

While the tournament became as much about Ron Vlaar’s defending and Louis van Gaal’s tactics as it did about the individual brilliance of Neymar and Messi, almost every player that had a good game for the Dutch was in one way or another linked with a move to Manchester. Stefan de Vrij, Daryl Janmaat, Daley Blind, Nigel de Jong and Arjen Robben have all been linked with a summer move, and while we appreciate the fact that you can disregard most of it, some of the speculation might have foundation in something real.

While van Gaal departs his role as head coach of the Netherlands, the time has come for Gus Hiddink to replace one of the most popular men in Dutch footballing memory.  “I have a special bond with him,” said Robben. “He is the most important coach in my career. After the match he did ask me to come to Manchester.”

While van Gaal did nothing to stave off any further speculation with a “he is always welcome” quote, it doesn’t seem likely that an aging Robben would be willing to change his life in Germany for a few short years in Manchester, although his form during the World Cup might suggest he has a more than just a few years left yet.

Robin van Persie, who immediately went to the stand and gave his bronze medal to an eccentric Dutch fan, went on to throw further fuel on the transfer fire with some cryptic messages about possible future Manchester United signings.

He grinned when pressed by journalists and replied with a grin, I’ll admit that I know a little bit more than you sometimes, but I can’t say anything!”. This would suggest that there are more signings on the way, and also shows how close a bond Van Gaal and his captain Van Persie have.

Louis van Gaal’s arrival into the Premier League is being looked upon as a challenge by many of his peers, as he is widely renowned as one of the most tactically brilliant coaches there is. Along with Ronald Koeman, who takes over Southampton, and whoever Van Gaal brings with him from the Dutch squad, the growing Dutch connection in the Premier League will benefit fans from all walks.

Two days off is all Van Gaal requested before flying to the USA with his new squad. “I hope the group in Manchester will become like this one. We have to sing from the same hymnsheet.” said van Gaal about his new role at Manchester United.

“I hope at Manchester United I can do my best. I will do my best. Whether that’s enough for the fans I will wait and see, but I genuinely hope that will be the case.”

It was not enough to win the World Cup for the Netherlands, but it was certainly enough to convince fans of Netherlands and Manchester United that Van Gaal is a fine coach with plenty of ideas left unshared, and whoever has the good fortune to have him as a coach will benefit.

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Manchester United target to join Lazio?

Lazio’s Sporting Director, Igli Tare, has declared that Feyenoord centre-back Stefan de Vrij wants to join his club, despite claims that Manchester United were targeting the Dutch international writes Robbie Dunne.


While the “Dutch international to Manchester United” rumours need to be taken with a pinch of salt, it would not be unthinkable given how well he played during Netherlands run to the semi-final of the World Cup. He was pivotal to the Netherlands’ solid defensive setup, alongside Ron Vlaar and Bruno Martins Indi as a back three.

Lazio were initially interested in the defender, but their interest believed to have cooled due to the fact that Manchester United and, more importantly, Louis van Gaal had become interested in the 22-year-old but Tare remains adamant that de Vrij wants to play in Italy and for Lazio.

De Vrij is comfortable as a centre-back but can also play as a right-back and he burst onto the scene during the 2009/10 season with his current club Feyenoord. He has since amassed 135 appearances for the club, despite being only 22 years old.

Louis van Gaal played the defender in all six of the Netherlands’ World Cup 2014 games and he really excelled in the spotlight. He was immense against Costa Rica and Argentina, in particular.

Manchester United’s depth at centre-back is poor having lost club captain Nemanja Vidic and veteran Rio Ferdinand during the summer. Lazio, on the other hand, could also do with a boost at the position.

De Vrij’s contract runs until the summer of 2015 and could cost as little as €5 million, but Feyenoord are hoping to hold out for more as the transfer window draws to a close.

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