Thursday 18 January 2018

Van der Sar: 'Louis van Gaal can lead United back to glory days'

Van der Sar backs fellow Dutchman to fill void left by legendary Ferguson

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal
Edwin Van der Sar, pictured, spent six years at United

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is convinced Louis van Gaal will bring the glory days back to Old Trafford.

United head to Chelsea tomorrow in top form, having won six successive matches.

Victory at Stamford Bridge would put United within five points of the Blues, but the fact that the leaders have one game in hand means they are big favourites to lift the Premier League trophy next month.

Van der Sar admits the title is probably beyond United's grasp this season, but when asked whether the Red Devils could challenge for the championship next year, the former goalkeeper said: "With a little bit of luck, they could have done that this season but for Chelsea winning a lot of those games with late goals - but let's hope so.

"Believing in the philosophy of Louis, at the start of the new season, I think he can bring the club back to the place where it belongs."

United boss Van Gaal revealed this week that he started planning in January to make acquisitions in the summer transfer window.

Edwin Van der Sar, pictured, spent six years at United

Edwin van der Sar

Mats Hummels, Nathaniel Clyne and Kevin Strootman - amongst others - are on the Dutchman's radar.

Van der Sar, who won four titles at United, believes the club's revival will gather pace if a couple of new signings are added in the window.

"It's been a good turnaround for the club and, if they can hold on to that third place, it's a great position to then maybe strengthen in a couple of areas of the team," Van der Sar said.

PSV Eindhoven midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has admitted he would be open to a summer move to United if it meant being able to link up with Louis van Gaal.

The 24-year-old was part of Van Gaal's Dutch squad at the World Cup in Brazil.

Wijnaldum, who has scored 15 goals for PSV from midfield this season, is keen to secure a move to one of Europe's top leagues.

And he has revealed he's keen to renew his working relationship with United boss Van Gaal.

Wijnaldum said: "I am happy at PSV but I am a player with a lot of ambition.

"I want to play in a stronger league than the Eredivisie.

"With my quality I feel I can bring a lot to a team that I will join. I want to show it in the big leagues; England, Italy, Spain, Germany and France.

"Of course I would like to work with him again.

"He is a good trainer, and makes players better. I work really fine with him and he is a great man.

"He gave me a chance and opportunity to play in a World Cup after seven months out injured, and I am thankful for that. He helped me get my confidence back."

Meanwhile, Chelsea appear on the verge of completing a move for Brazil teenager Nathan Allan de Souza.

The 19-year-old is understood to be in London for a medical ahead of a £4.5million switch to Stamford Bridge from Atletico Paranaense.

Nathan, an attacking midfielder, sparked interest from a number of European clubs following an impressive display at the 2013 Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

The transfer, however, would be subject to Home Office approval on a work permit for the Under-20 international, as Chelsea aim to add Nathan to fellow Brazilians Willian, Ramires, Filipe Luis and Oscar in their squad.

Chelsea may decide to send Nathan out on loan to gain some valuable first-team experience.

Another player to do just that is striker Patrick Bamford.

The 21-year-old's 17 goals have helped Middlesbrough mount a promotion challenge from the Sky Bet Championship and is reported to be in talks over a new deal at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea head into tomorrow's fixture looking to move a step closer to the Premier League title when they host third-placed United.

Striker Diego Costa continues to recover from a hamstring injury, but Loic Remy was expected to shake off the muscle injury which forced him out of the win at QPR, where veteran forward Didier Drogba led the Blues attack.

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