Louis van Gaal’s latest interview during the squads pre-season tour of America will have fans and journalists alike licking their lips with anticipation. It is widely expected of the United boss to cause a stir once in a while, but this new round of news will come as a surprise to just about everyone.
The Dutchman started by revealing his plans to sign a new striker, one that has yet to be picked up by the media.
“It’s not the striker that the media has written,” Van Gaal revealed.
“But you have to wait and see. The transfer period is open until August 31 or September 2.”
To read more on United’s mystery striker, click HERE.
In what was the most obvious pulls from Van Gaal’s interview, the manager revealed that he felt more comfortable now than he did at this stage last year when he first undertook the job.
“I could not say that last year because you have to be always positive as a manager about your selection but there’s a difference now.”
“Already we have four new players in training on tour but the biggest difference is the balance in the team.”
“Last year also in the US tour I had to line up the players in different positions than what they’re used to playing which is not good so now for every position I have two players.”
With the manager slowly but surely building a ruthless reputation, Van Gaal also made a point of how he has showed the door to a number of players, the latest of these set to become goalkeeper Victor Valdes who has failed to follow the 63-year-old’s philosophy.
“We have sold also a lot of players and you never talk about that.”
“We have sold more than 17 in my period. Nobody mentions that.”
“I think that’s normal in the football world – you have improve every year the selection and also keep them fresh and a new player can give a great stimulus.”
One of United’s new arrivals, and arguably one of the most needed signings Matteo Darmian was next in line to be subject to another shock from Van Gaal. With United spending much of last season with Antonio Valencia playing full back, a position not suited to his natural attacking instincts, fans were delighted when the £12.5 million Italian signed. However, Louis van Gaal’s latest comments may wipe the smile off momentarily as he confirmed the former Torino right back has been brought in as back-up for Antonio Valencia.
“We have brought Darmian for the second position behind Valencia and now already because of that injury (Paddy) McNair has to play there.”
This particular quote could have been misinterpreted, let’s hope so!
Louis van Gaal then added that David de Gea and Antonio Valencia would not play in the friendly in Seattle, and when asked to clarify what De Gea’s injury was, Van Gaal replied simply: “No.”
Make of it what you will.
Manchester United’s interest in Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos looked to be dead in the water, but Van Gaal admitted there could still be light, although he insisted it remains a process.
“I cannot talk about these rumours.”
“I have said already it’s a process and maybe Mr Ramos is in the process.”
When asked whether United’s new signings could help mount a title charge next season, Van Gaal gave little away.
“We always have to wait and see how new players can contribute.”
“I have said that before also when Falcao or di Maria or Blind or Rojo, the Premier League is a different league – it’s the highest pressure on the ball, the rhythm is different – therefore you have to wait and see.”
Could the manager not yet be satisfied with the squad?
Finally, Louis van Gaal paid tribute to Wayne Rooney, a player he believes has taken to the captaincy role ‘better than he expected.’
“I think he is a great captain.”
“I could not have expected more.”
“I think he’s a great captain. Better than I had expected. He is fully accepted by the players and that’s also very important because I can choose the captain but the players decide.”
“That is my philosophy – the players have to accept the captains and the first captain is Wayne Rooney and the second captain is Michael Carrick.”
The Dutchman then urged that he has listened to the public’s view on Rooney, and that he will spend next season playing as a striker rather than in midfield.
Overall, it was a fairly Van Gaal-esque interview.