Holland’s progress in the World Cup appears to not have halted Louis Van Gaal’s revolution from happening at Manchester United. Last week, the Red Devils announced the signing of Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao and England left back Luke Shaw from Southampton. The two signings, at a combined cost of £60.5million, signal Van Gaal’s intent to reshape the former English Champions this summer, with further new faces expected before the start of the new season. At 24, Herrera has been on United’s radar for some time now and was even a target for previous boss, David Moyes during his brief spell at the club. At that time Bilbao rejected United’s advances but after they returned this summer to match the players transfer escape clause fee, there was little they could do to prevent him from leaving Spain. The baby faced central midfielder is hardly the enforcer that United so desperately lacked last year but will offer Van Gaal another attacking option alongside fellow countryman Juan Mata. Not yet capped for Spain at full international level (he has won caps for the Under 20 to Under 23’s to date), Herrera or Ander as he prefers to be called is one of the next generation of Spanish players who will forge a new Spanish national team, replacing the one that so badly failed in Brazil. A winner as part of the Spain under 21 team at the 2011under 21’s Championship, Ander has a bright future ahead of him in the game and will likely flourish under the encouragement of Van Gaal.
Also likely to benefit from Van Gaal’s experience is Luke Shaw. The England left back is considered as one of the brightest prospects in the game and a guaranteed successor for his country to Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines. The 18 year old piped Cole to a place in Roy Hodgson’s England World Cup squad and made his WC debut against Costa Rica in the final group game. His performance and enthusiasm for attacking the left flank was a breath of fresh air to an England team that had looked tired and out of ideas from the start, begging the question of why he wasn’t selected sooner. But for all that Shaw has skill and pace in abundance, he is still a raw talent that needs nurturing, something that Van Gaal knows exactly how to do. Guaranteed a starting spot at United ahead of the aging Patrice Evra, Shaw’s development will be rapid with many expecting him to become one of the best left backs’ in the world before too long.
Van Gaal may not have been present to welcome his two new signings but United fans can be assured that he was pulling all the strings behind the scenes and will continue to do so. He will not fall into the same trap as Moyes, who sat back whilst Ed Woodward bumbled his way through last summer’s transfer window. It was Van Gaal who approved both transfers and it is he who will pinpoint the next few players to arrive as well. Rumours surrounding Juventus and Chilean enforcer Arturo Vidal and Roma’s injured Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman continue with both players likely to favour a move to the north of England. Memphis Depay’s World Cup performances will also have given Van Gaal food for thought as have that of Ghana’s Andre Ayew. The arrival of Belgian centre half Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal has only been temporarily delayed due to United wanting to wait on seeing how bad the injury he picked up during the tournament is. Their arrivals will be swiftly followed by several players exiting the club with the futures of Nani, Javier Hernandez, Tom Cleverley and Darren Fletcher still unknown. Regardless of who comes in or who exits, there is one thing that is for sure – Van Gaal will have his squad ready in time for the kick off of the new season.