Many United fans are currently in two minds about Holland’s on-going adventures at this summer’s World Cup. On the one hand, people want to see van Persie and particularly van Gaal do well; seeing such success as reassurance that we can expect an improvement in United’s fortunes next season. On the other hand many fans express the hope that van Gaal will be free as soon as possible to begin his work at United.
One thing is for sure as Holland prepare for this weekend’s quarter final tie against Costa Rica, the Dutch progress to date reflects well on van Gaal and so has only increased expectations for the season ahead. Holland possess a number of world class players (van Persie, Robben and Sneijder spring to mind) but the rest of the squad is relatively young and inexperienced. In matches so far van Gaal has demonstrated that he can get the most out of an uneven squad. He has consistently devised strategies that have out-manoeuvred the opposite number in his opponent’s dug-out. He has often made critical adjustments in games which (whether as a necessary consequence of injury or the match situation) have directly influenced the result in Holland’s favour. United’s squad is currently fairly uneven so there are parallels here; hopefully this bodes well.
The concern of fans to see an early start to the van Gaal era is based upon the assumption that there is a lot to do to prepare for the new season. There is, but it would be wrong to assume that the time available is insufficient. Van Gaal has already stated he won’t need a break (the Dutch have fewer holidays than any other European footballing nation) and he has almost certainly maintained a dialogue with the club since his appointment. Whilst Shaw and Herrera were two long term transfer targets scouted by Moyes, van Gaal will have had a say in agreeing to their arrival. He will also have given Woodwood a list of target signings.
The real work of course will start when van Gaal arrives at Carrington. If Holland were to reach the World Cup final on the 13th July 2014, that leaves only ten days before the opening match of United’s USA tour. (United start with a fixture against LA Galaxy on the 23rd July 2014). This means in effect that United’s USA tour will be as much a training tour as the usual marketing exercise. Van Gaal’s start at a number of his clubs has been slow because time is usually needed to get his ideas across to a new group of players. We shouldn’t expect instant results, especially if we make as many signings as are being suggested, although seasoned United followers will think that unlikely. Some of the recent transfer speculation has been fanciful. United seem to have been linked with almost everyone who has done well at the World Cup and certainly anyone wearing orange. To many this is bizarre because many of the players we are being linked with play in the supposed weaker part of the Dutch side.
However many signings United make, and however well Holland do in the coming two weeks, some things are worth waiting for. Hopefully the arrival of van Gaal at Carrington will be one of them.