Manchester United have put themselves in a wonderful position to not only return to the top four in the Premier League, but also finish the 2014/2015 season in second behind runaway leaders Chelsea. It has been an impressive turnaround at Old Trafford under Louis van Gaal who has slowly, but surely implemented his philosophies and preferred style of play into the team who have responded on the pitch.
A run of six straight victories was curtailed by Chelsea, but the performance alone reflected that Manchester United have made significant improvements since the last campaign when confidence hit an all-time low. However, not everyone has been impressed with van Gaal’s tinkering and preference to play three in defence, and with a younger manager expressing an interest in becoming Manchester United manager, the 63-year-old could already find his position under threat. Borussia Dortmund have replaced their outgoing manager with Tomas Tuchel, but with Jurgen Klopp 8/10 to replace Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester United, he has stated that Old Trafford is his preferred destination of choice. It leaves the Glazer family with an interesting decision to make during the summer, with acquiring one of the most talented and highly-rated managers in the game an opportunity that does not come around every day.
Stick with van Gaal
Convincing van Gaal to leave his post as manager of the Netherlands for one last crack at club management came with the foresight that his vast experience and tactical nous was exactly what Manchester United required to restore pride, confidence and belief at the club. He knows what it takes to build a successful side, having done so wherever he has managed across Europe, with the La Liga, Eredivise and Bundesliga title amongst an array of trophies van Gaal has lifted during a 24-year managerial career. Van Gaal may not have tasted success in his first season at Old Trafford, but he has certainly made a big impact in transforming the club’s fortunes around and integrating plans that could see Manchester United return to the Premier League summit next season.
Disposing of his services would seem illogical, particularly at a time when the club need stability following last season’s disappointment under former manager David Moyes who found the job too big for him. Van Gaal already has his eye on a number of high-profile recruits during the summer transfer window in which Manchester United will look to be extremely active, and if the team can continue performing in the same manner that they have been prior to the Chelsea defeat, then the wily old Dutchman is most certainly the right man to lead them next season
Swap for Klopp
Changing manager after just one season at the helm is not uncommon in the modern game, but there would be logic behind the decision to displace a 63-year-old manager who is in the twilight years of his career with a 47-year-old who has plenty of years ahead of him in the game. Klopp has earned himself a wonderful reputation across the world for the fantastic success he achieved at Borussia Dortmund, with whom he transformed from a decent side to Bundesliga title winners and 2013 Champions League runners-up. His meticulous attention to detail and persistent focus on a high pressing, attacking style of play was instrumental in Dortmund’s ability to compete with the very best, with shrewd acquisitions in the transfer market such as Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus illustrating that Klopp certainly knows how to unearth real potential.
Klopp is certainly a likeable manager, with his colourful and charismatic persona on and off the pitch winning many admirers from fans and media alike who have willed him on to succeed in football manager. The former Dortmund manager also dealt with the inevitable frustration of having their best players snared from elsewhere with good grace and dignity, but the fact that Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan and Reus could be the latest stars to leave the Signal Iduna Park this summer may have swayed his decision to leave the club. They have also surprised many by struggling for form and consistency in the Bundesliga, but one shaky season does not make Klopp a bad manager by any means and he remains the astute tactician that could make a real difference at a club like Manchester United.