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Saturday 10 December 2016

Paul Hyland: Cash rich Louis van Gaal has a new plan for Man United

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal

Somewhere tucked deep inside the mulish, black and white persona Louis van Gaal exhibits, there may be a plan for where the Dutchman wants to take Manchester United. Some might say to the cleaners.

Van Gaal's dealings are heading towards the £250m mark and his pursuit of Pedro seems as relentless as the stream of transfer flyers linking Manchester United with all sorts of names which has been building for almost a year since it became very clear that Alex Ferguson's legacy squad was like Swiss cheese.

Van Gaal is the Donald Trump of the Premier League at the moment and he is sweeping his employers along with the same blustering authority but is he making it up as he goes along or just crisis-managing a huge club through a major transition which expects trophies after two barren years?

List

John Giles has a list of qualities which managers need to be successful with about nine bullet points. But he has never including spoofing as a strength or a requirement. Self-belief would probably come closest.

The line between extreme self-confidence and a custard pie is thin enough, though, and Van Gaal is setting himself and Manchester United up for a big fall.

Apparently, the carrot dangled in front of Pedro is the guarantee of a starring role as one of three front-runners alongside Wayne Rooney and Memphis Depay. Van Gaal is setting out his route to a Premier League title much as he did when he made it known that he wanted to use a three-man defence this time last year. It has been pointed out often that Van Gaal was forced to abandon that plan by a string of defensive injuries and, as a result, stumbled on a formula which worked.

It was a point of weakness that he blundered on with until he had no choice but he didn't waste any time agonising over it.

Within a few months he had rewritten history and now he is placing his faith in Rooney, Pedro and Depay.

He may be right but all transfer activity is a gamble and by November, he might be fishing around for someone else and Plan C.

Would it bother him? Not a chance. Van Gaal is a force of nature and he is carrying a huge institution with him. Manchester United have dominated the transfer market this summer and if Van Gaal gets Pedro and a good start, his team will be hard to stop.

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