I don’t know what it is about Manchester United retreads and Everton, but it seems like we can’t escape getting linked to them. Whether it was Tim Howard in the old days, Wayne Rooney coming back home or even Morgan Schneiderlin, we’ve seen a number of players make the jump, and we have been linked to players like Luke Shaw, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, and recently even the return of Maroune Fellaini have all been rumoured to make the move this season.
Truly speaking these links aren’t the worst thing in the world. United is generally wasteful because Jose Mourinho is about as creative as an unshorn sheep, but it’s hard to catch up to teams in caliber and quality when you survive off their rejects.
Louis van Gaal has a history with Marcel Brands, connected by multiple sources with the Director of Football position at Everton, and so when van Gaal talks about working again, as he does in this Daily Mail report, it’s natural to see why Everton would be thought of:
“I have received an offer that I actually cannot refuse... if I am not at work in July or August I will definitely retire.”
It is no secret that LvG has no love lost with Manchester United, and that he’d relish the chance to stick it to his former employer, who he says were ‘mean and low’ towards him, but with the Arsenal job definitely open this summer, and Chelsea likely to be, he’s probably more likely to be coaching in London than on Merseyside.
This shouldn’t bother Everton fans though. van Gaal is a man with old ideas and spent ambitions. We should be looking for a coach who is willing to develop youth, play attacking football and build a legacy a la Mauricio Pochettino, and I don’t think LvG was not that guy at Old Trafford and won’t change now.
When the Everton job became vacant after Ronald Koeman was sacked, LvG was linked but later denied that he had been contacted. In addition, any coach who says ‘if I don’t have a job in a few months I’ll retire’ has one foot out the door already. When things get hard, he’ll just retire. Everton can do better than that. They can find coaches with more hunger than that, and frankly they should.
van Gaal’s time at United has not been treated fairly by the press in my opinion. He won the FA Cup, while finishing fifth in the League in his last year with 66 points. Jose Mourinho showed up the next season, spent £140m net including world record buy Paul Pogba, and finished sixth in the League with 69 points. The only significant difference was that Mourinho won the Europa League instead of the FA Cup, so he got Champions League football for the next year. When you can trot out the world’s most expensive player in a Europa League Final against Ajax, I would certainly hope you can win the tournament.
So it is not that I doubt Van Gaal’s competence at all. He’s a fine manager, I am simply not convinced that he is what Everton need right now.