Friday 23 February 2018

Van Gaal reveals United wishlist

Robben and Fabregas lined up to lead Old Trafford revival as new manager looks to 'make history' with Giggs

Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal

Mark Ogden

THE rebuilding of Manchester United under Louis van Gaal is to begin with a series of high-profile transfers.

Van Gaal has put Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben and Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels on the top of his shopping list.

This comes in the wake of moves which are already afoot to sign Southampton defender Luke Shaw and Bayern midfielder Toni Kroos, with interest confirmed in Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas and Paris St-Germain forward Edinson Cavani.

With considerable activity promised on the transfer front, Van Gaal was claiming yesterday that he and Ryan Giggs were ready to "make history" at Old Trafford after Giggs announced his playing retirement in order to work as the new manager's assistant.

Van Gaal, the Holland coach, was confirmed as having signed a three-year contract to succeed the sacked David Moyes after being identified as one of the "outstanding managers in the game" by Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman.

The 62-year-old will be expected to restore United to the Champions League and challenge for the Premier League title in his first season, but he has been assured by the club owners, the Glazer family, that substantial funds will be made available to recruit top-class players this summer.

But in a nod to United's success under Alex Ferguson, Van Gaal has handed Giggs the chance to prepare himself for the manager's job at Old Trafford in the future by naming the 40-year-old as his assistant.

Giggs, who made his 963rd and final senior appearance against Hull City this month, is understood to have been hugely impressed by Van Gaal during a meeting with the Dutchman in Holland last week and he has accepted the No 2 role despite ongoing uncertainty over the futures of coaches and close friends Phil Neville, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes.

But with Van Gaal now left to focus on Holland's World Cup preparations the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach insists he and Giggs will oversee a bright future.

"It was always a wish for me to work in the Premier League," Van Gaal said. "To work as a manager for Manchester United, the biggest club in the world, makes me very proud."

"I have managed in games at Old Trafford before and know what an incredible arena Old Trafford is and how passionate and knowledgeable the fans are. This club has big ambitions; I too have big ambitions and together we will make history."

Van Gaal has been told that his first objective is to restore United to the position of dominance they held under Ferguson. And Woodward, who led the search for Moyes' successor, is confident Van Gaal possesses the credentials to deliver.

"In Louis van Gaal, we have secured the services of one of the outstanding managers in the game today," said Woodward . "He has achieved many things in his career and Old Trafford provides him with a fitting stage on which to write new chapters in the Manchester United story. Everyone is very excited about this new phase in the club's history. His track record of success in winning leagues and cups across Europe throughout his career makes him the perfect choice for us."

Van Gaal's success in blooding youngsters – he guided Ajax to the Champions League title in 1995 with a team of home-grown players – was also cited as a key element in his appointment by United co-chairman Joel Glazer. But the appointment of Giggs as Van Gaal's assistant is regarded as a crucial factor in retaining a link to the club's past.

"Louis van Gaal is a world-class coach and I know I will learn a lot about coaching from being able to observe and contribute at such close quarters. Manchester United has been a huge part of my life and I'm delighted to be able to continue that relationship in such a key role," Giggs said.

With Van Gaal installing goalkeeper coach Frans Hoek and opposition scout Marcel Bout to his back room, former England goalkeeper Chris Woods will not be retained as goalkeeping coach. United are keen to offer roles to Butt, Scholes and Neville, but as yet, none of those have been given an indication of the jobs they may be asked to fulfil. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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