Monday 24 November 2014

No rest for Van Gaal as Old Trafford reign begins

Eleanor Crooks

Published 17/07/2014 | 02:30

New Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal (right) at the club’s training ground yesterday with his assistant manager Ryan Giggs  Photo by Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images
New Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal (right) at the club’s training ground yesterday with his assistant manager Ryan Giggs Photo by Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal arrived at the club's Carrington training ground yesterday to begin his new role.

The Dutchman dodged the cameras at the main gate but was shown in pictures on the club's Twitter feed alongside his assistant manager Ryan Giggs and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

Van Gaal was due to meet those players not on a post-World Cup break as well as the rest of the club staff. He has taken up the reins only four days after guiding Holland to third place at the World Cup in Brazil, eschewing a break himself.

And the 62-year-old, United's first manager from outside Britain and Ireland will have no time to ease himself in.

PRESENTED

Today he will be officially presented at a press conference at Old Trafford at 3.0 before jetting off to the USA tomorrow for the club's pre-season tour.

United will play matches against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Roma, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, while Van Gaal's Old Trafford debut will come in a friendly against Valencia on August 12.

Four days later United will open their Premier League campaign at home to Swansea City.

A fast start will be a major priority for the new boss as United look to bounce back from last year's seventh-placed finish, which cost Van Gaal's predecessor David Moyes his job.

There is plenty for Van Gaal to get his teeth into, not least whether he wants to go into the transfer market to add to the summer signings of left-back Luke Shaw and midfielder Ander Herrera.

Defence appears to be an area of priority given the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, while Van Gaal must also decide whether a number of players have a future at Old Trafford.

United have been heavily linked with a bid for Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, a star of the World Cup with Chile, and speculation increased when Antonio Conte stepped down as Juve manager on Tuesday.

However, at a press conference to unveil Massimiliano Allegri as his successor yesterday, Juventus insisted Vidal is not for sale.

Club administrator Giuseppe Marotta said: "Vidal is a Juventus player and we have never put him up for sale. A lot of clubs have asked for him but we have never sat down to negotiate.

"We want to keep him. Vidal has expressed many times how happy he is to remain in Turin and, if that is confirmed, we will be happy to continue together."

Speaking in Chile earlier this week about the potential of a move to United, Vidal said: "I'm already at a great team, Juventus, so I will be just as calm if the Manchester United option falls through."

He scored 11 goals in 32 league appearances to help Juve win their third straight league title last season and is currently on holiday in Chile after helping his country reach the last 16 of the World Cup, where they lost on penalties to Brazil.

Press Association

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