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Manager Watch: Why Van Gaal is already a step ahead of Moyes

Manchester United's early signing of Ander Herrera means Louis van Gaal is already in a better position that David Moyes was this time last year.

Whether it was his fault or not, former Everton boss Moyes never really made it at Manchester United in terms of high-profile transfers.

There was the January arrival of Juan Mata at Old Trafford for £37.5 million, which gave the fans something to cheer - for a while.

But the calamity of the previous summer, when Moyes had publicly failed with so many pursuits of top targets and only brought Marouane Fellaini to Man United, ultimately proved the Scot's undoing.

The 51-year-old wasn't the only one who received blame for the failings, of course, with United's Ed Woodward receiving criticism for the job he carried out in his first summer in charge of transfer business. It was Moyes who became the fall guy eventually, though, as United's squad struggled to a seventh-placed finish in a season that could have been so different had one or two key signings been pulled off.

This time around, things are very different. New man Louis van Gaal has not even taken charge at Old Trafford yet, still on duty with a Netherlands side that has every chance of going all the way at the World Cup. But that hasn't stopped Manchester United from acquiring Ander Herrera for around the £30 million mark, with the signing of Luke Shaw believed to be imminent, as well.

Whether the transfers have anything to do with 62-year-old Van Gaal himself is uncertain. One would assume the Dutchman has given his blessing - but both have been United targets for some time, so the club themselves have likely done all the leg work in righting the wrongs of last summer's transfer window.

Either way, Van Gaal is the main beneficiary, as he will already be a step ahead of Moyes when he begins his managerial duties at the club.

Manchester United's midfield problems have been long-standing. Herrera will at least be a solution to the problem: a solution that Moyes never got the benefit of, despite his efforts.

The outcome will surely see Van Gaal hit the ground running in Manchester, with a repeat of last season's ill-fated campaign something you would find hard to imagine. Challenging for trophies will still be as tough as ever in a highly competitive Premier League, while finishing in the top four is no longer a guarantee for anyone.

In doing their transfer business early and effectively, however, Manchester United have done everything they can to ensure that the club will, at the very least, be able to compete for success. And that has put Van Gaal in a stronger position than his predecessor was at any point during his time at Old Trafford.

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