We think that virtuoso football management can be judged on three factors – tactical nous, man-management and success in the transfer market. With Louis van Gaal now nearly a year and £150m into the Manchester United job, we assess how his signings have done:
Daley Blind (21 games, 2 goals)
Blind is one of the most composed players that you will see. He never looks flustered and has a quality left foot. But if Manchester United are to win things again we sense that it will be with Blind as a utility man rather than first choice midfielder. He has been excellent at left back but Luke Shaw will surely prove to be a more dynamic alternative next season.
VERDICT: A decent season but one which has highlighted Blind’s lack of adventure. 6/10
Radamel Falcao (28 games, 4 goals)
There was a definite sense with Manchester United’s transfer policy last summer, that they were proving to the world that they could still buy world stars. With signings like this they made their point and Falcao was certainly worth a punt. But it just hasn’t clicked for the lad and question marks remains over his suitability to the English league.
VERDICT: Hugely disappointing for the fans who expected so much. 2/10
Angel di Maria (28 games, 4 goals)
He’s had a shocking season after a good start. But he’s still got the ability to be a star at Manchester United – if he isn’t sold.
VERDICT: Lost his confidence. Will he recover? 4/10
Marcos Rojo (22 games, 1 goal)
Has looked really promising when he has played. He’s powerful, quick and no nonsense which makes him ideal for The Premier League – but injuries have stemmed his progress.
VERDICT: Can be a big player for Manchester United. 6/10
Luke Shaw (20 games, 0 goals)
Another player who would have fared much better had it not been for unlucky and persistent injuries. We have little doubt about his ability to become a star for United.
VERDICT: Best yet to come. 6/10
Ander Herrera (29 games, 7 goals)
Possibly the pick of the bunch. Started well then dipped. but he has fought his way back into the team and started to show real value for Manchester United.
VERDICT: Still makes the odd silly mistake but always looking to play the ball forward. 7/10
Victor Valdes (0 games)
An excellent, highly professional back up for David de Gea.
Overall: Louis has invested pretty well – and most importantly he’s made long term investments in youngish players – and will expect to see improvement from his acquisitions again next season. 6/10