Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has come under pressure in the last week, and it could be the start of a long struggle for the club.
Speaking on ESPN FC, Craig Burley revealed his concerns about the Red Devils moving beyond the Dutchman’s tenure, as Van Gaal will see his contract expire at the end of next season with no suggestion that he will sign an extension.
As a result, the former Ajax boss has a season-and-a-half to get United on the right path, and although they are in fourth place in the Premier League at the time of writing and just six points adrift of surprise leaders Leicester City, there have been plenty of question marks around the squad this year.
From their troubles in terms of scoring goals and their lack of creativity in midfield, it has played a part in their elimination from the Champions League at the group stage, as well as in failing to take advantage of their rivals slipping up over the course of the first 16 games of the domestic campaign.
Many of these issues have been blamed on Van Gaal for the style and mentality that he has implemented at the club. While he has also sold the likes of Jonny Evans, Angel Di Maria and Robin van Persie, his £250 million rebuilding job has also attracted significant criticism with United lacking in key areas, as noted by The Guardian.
As a result, in a week in which the Premier League giants have lost to Wolfsburg and Bournemouth, the knives are unsurprisingly out for Van Gaal, and ultimately unless results improve on the pitch then it remains to be seen how long he remains in his current position.
Nevertheless, an intriguing point that Burley made could also see the 64-year-old have a damaging effect on the club even after he has departed.
Depending on who his successor is, they may well decide that the players that Van Gaal has brought in during this short-term stint are not part of their plans. Given that the Dutch tactician is still in the process of changing the club’s identity, further change in two years time will only serve to further disrupt and destabilise things at Old Trafford and extend the time required to rebuild and become consistently competitive on all fronts.
As a result, United are arguably heading down a dangerous road the longer the Dutchman is in charge as if his replacement comes in and rips up his script and brings his own ideas and players in, Van Gaal’s legacy will be non-existent.