Louis van Gaal is primed to be the new coach of Manchester United following the premature sacking of David Moyes after only 9 months in the job.
The Dutch coach wants a deal in place by 7 May, the date he gathers the Dutch national team to prepare for the World Cup, and the signs are that everything is in place to make that happen.
According to Mehmet Scholl, who was reserve team coach under Van Gaal at Bayern Munich, some of the current United squad will find van Gaal's imminent tenure a more difficult proposition than others
"He's very strict and severe. So the players just have the chance to follow him or they are out and he takes the next players,” Scholl explained. “He's very good with young players. I think everywhere he was he had some problems with big players and the staff."
Naturally this has led to speculation about the futures of Manchester United’s elder statesmen and more egotistical, bigger stars who some journalists have speculated may not be willing to change their style to please the new coach.
For the purposes of this article though, and considering the Scholl quote above, we’re focusing on 5 youngsters Van Gaal could bring to the Old Trafford to help engender his philosophy and form the backbone for the new Manchester United.
Position: Centre back
Louis van Gaal gave this capable 22-year-old defender his first cap for Holland against Colombia in November last year after encouraging displays of consistency and authority for his club side, Ajax, recently winning a fourth consecutive Eredivisie title. Exclusively happy in the centre, Veltman might not be versatile but he is strong in the tackle, very good in the air and also comfortable on the deck and an accurate and intelligent user of the football. This combination of gifts has made him one of the most coveted stoppers in Europe and Spurs and Arsenal will also be chasing his services .
Club: Bayern Munich
Position: Attacking midfielder
A wonderfully free spirit at Borussia Dortmund turned perennial bench-warmer at Bayern, Gotze is in desperate need of a fresh challenge and next season could line up behind Robin van Persie in van Gaal’s preferred formation of 4-2-3-1. Where Shinji Kagawa, Ashley Young, Adnan Januzaj and Juan Mata have largely failed this year, the young German international may succeed: supplying the kind of invention and magic that the Old Trafford faithful so desire.
Position: Left back
The most coveted left back in the Premier League and an obvious replacement for the French veteran, Patrice Evra, Shaw’s stats this year reveal him to be equally as confident on the ball in the latter third as he is defending his position: a balance of attributes that has alerted every big club in England to his services. Manchester United might not be able to offer him European football next season but van Gaal could turn him into England’s number one left-back for the next ten years.
Club: Real Sociedad
A little French magician who can work angles and gaps all across the front line, Griezmann also scores his fair share of crucial goals. Was strongly linked with a £25 million-plus move to PSG but tweeted: ‘To clarify, despite rumours about a signature at PSG – no contacts or decisions in this direction have been considered,' leaving the door open for a switch to the Premier League. Unproven at the very highest level but an undoubted and unerring talent nonetheless. And United won't be operating at the highest levels in Europe again until he's firmly established himself at the club.
A deep-lying enforcer of some repute, Strootman has enjoyed a fine season at Roma until a knee injury ruled him out of a nice jolly to South America with van Gaal in the summer. Was available for £7m last summer but dithering Old Trafford suits let him slip away to Roma. He’ll now cost over triple that figure and certainly be more difficult to prise away from the Giallorossi. Strootman is tough in the tackle and would appear to be the perfect replacement for Michael Carrick, who hasn’t enjoyed the most productive of seasons, in the furnace of United’s engine room. Not so young anymore at 24, but still has ability to grown under van Gaal.