Manchester United have announced Louis van Gaal as their new manager, with the Dutchman set to take charge at Old Trafford after leading the Netherlands at this summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
The 62 year old has had a glittering career in management so far, winning titles in his home country with both Ajax and AZ Alkmaar, in Spain with Barcelona and in Germany with Bayern Munich.
He also lifted the Champions League trophy with Ajax in 1995, as well as a number of other major trophies across Europe over a twenty year spell.
Ryan Giggs, who was placed in charge for the clubs final four games of the 2013/14 campaign following the dismissal of David Moyes will work as Van Gaal’s assistant after announcing his retirement from playing.
United’s recent seventh place finish was their lowest in twenty-four years, while it was the first time in nine seasons where they failed to lift any silverware.
Next season will see the club absent from European competition for the first time since 89/90, and Van Gaal, his staff and supporters will hope that that will aid their attempts to get back into the top four at the very least at the first time of asking.
With Giggs retired, Nemanja Vidic and possibly Patrice Evra Italy-bound and Rio Ferdinand on his way out of the club, Van Gaal’s first task will be to add to United’s under-performing squad.
Southampton’s Luke Shaw has been strongly linked with a move to the Theatre of Dreams, while potential bids for Borussia Dortmund pair Marco Reus and Mats Hummels and Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben have also been mooted.
With Robben’s international teammate Robin van Persie currently captaining the Dutch side under Van Gaal, the 30 year old could well be handed the armband at club level following Vidic’s departure.
Manchester United are widely available at odds of 7.0 (6/1) to win the Premier League next season, while Paddy Power offer 1.57 (4/7) for them to finish in the Champions League qualification places.
William Hill have them at 9.0 (8/1) to lift the FA Cup, with the same price on offer from the same firm for them to be victorious in the League Cup.
Sky Bet offer 4.0 (3/1) that Van Gaal won’t be in charge on the final day of the season, while he can be backed to end his first season at the club without any silverware at 1.44 (4/9) with William Hill.