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Stubborn Van Gaal’s Next Transfer Target Is Unbelievable

Oh, to be in the mind of Louis van Gaal right now. The manager that has earned the reputation for being both egotistical and a stubborn genius is going through what might be the most challenging stint in his career. 

Under his leadership, Manchester United have been anything but the world-beating side that van Gaal usually commands, and it seems entirely possible that van Gaal’s record of winning silverware in his first season at every club he has managed will come to an end. People are questioning his judgement, and he is starting to take things personally. 

At a recent press conference, he responded to a rival manager’s opinion that he uses long-ball tactics with the grown-man equivalent of a school girl defending her wardrobe choices - namely, by wasting his time responding to the comments at all. If that is not an indicator of current state of Manchester United, then nothing is. 

United’s mediocrity under van Gaal is constantly on the verge of becoming a failure. Which is hard to understand, but nevertheless true, when you realize that United sit 3rd in the Premier League. After a season in which previous United Manager David Moyes was arguably the most hated man in Manchester, van Gaal’s reign is perfectly summed up by the hashtag #MoyesDidNothingWrong that has been seen so often throughout this year’s campaign. 

(Photo: Umairhayat02 | Twitter)

Now, being a world class manager, van Gaal realizes the circumstance that he is in, knows that it’s a poor one, and is doing what he can to try and improve it. He is looking into bringing in more talent, which all sounds well and good until you realize exactly what kind of talent he means to bring in. 

At a recent press conference, when a reporter asked if a creative midfielder was his top priority during this summer’s transfer window, van Gaal responded, “Yes, of course.” But in that very same press conference, van Gaal dictated the necessity to balance his team’s excessive load of creative talent. 

"The last games, I played with Adnan Januzaj and Angel Di Maria in the midfield positions…So when you have these creative players and you think that [Radamel] Falcao and Robin van Persie are also creative, then you have four creative players. Then you have to look for balance in your team."

As in a defensive balance, which, if the team sheets put out by van Gaal himself are anything to go by, United is so lacking in that he is forced to play one of United’s best strikers of the last decade in midfield. 

Again in the same press conference, van Gaal was asked whether he was playing Rooney out of position because he felt no one else was capable of balancing the team, and he said, “Of course that's the case. I'm looking for balance and I need it in midfield.”

Rooney and defensive balance should never be in the same sentence, unless the defensive balance in question pertains to whatever club United happens to be going up against next with respect to Rooney’s attacking threat.  

This is a team with midfielders Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, and Michael Carrick, and he feels that Wayne Rooney provides the best defensive balance. Granted Carrick is injured at the moment, and Herrera is not known for his defense; but still, you would have to imagine that those three would be much more willing and comfortable in the role than Rooney. 

And in the face of not believing that he has the correct defensive options in midfield, which has forced him to play Wayne Rooney out of position, he still wants sign a creative midfielder. Not a defender, not a defensive midfielder; an attack-minded, creative, has-he-completely-forgotten-about-Juan-Mata midfielder. 

Under most circumstances such double thinking would warrant suspicion of a multiple personality disorder. It wouldn’t surprise us if the next logical step in van Gaal’s thought process is, once he’s acquired said creative midfielder, to move Falcao into a deep-lying partnership with Rooney and then bemoan his team’s lack of finishing ability. 

Falcao has not found his form as a Red Devil. (Photo: BusbyBulliten | Twitter)

Every team could always use more attacking talent — just ask Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich — but that does not mean that it is worth chasing at the expense of the balance of the team. Van Gaal has rarely had his defense, midfield, and attack firing on all cylinders this season, and it should be his goal to make sure that those three components hit such heights regularly and in unison. Signing a creative player that will further throw off a balance that he himself has admitted is out of whack is not the key to achieving that.    

If he truly believes that the creative talent he has is not enough, we should all be questioning his ability to work with what he he has. United may be willing to bankroll big name transfer after big name transfer, but eventually van Gaal is just going to have to make it work. For now, van Gaal still has license to overhaul the team as he sees fit, but he cannot keep buying more of what United already has: attacking talent. 

Van Gaal is running the risk of never addressing his teams true deficiencies, and if he continues to do so we could see a new trending hashtag in the next couple of months: #VanGaalDidNothingRight.

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