What can Spurs expect from Louis Van Gaal?

Louis Van Gaal has clearly thrown his hat into the ring to become the next Spurs Head Coach in the summer. Tim Sherwood was appointed on an 18 month contract but all Spurs fans knew in their heads if not their hearts that he was an interim appointment in all but name.

You simply can't have a total novice trying to manage a potential top four teams whatever he thinks of his own ability. It was a wrong move for many at the time, but if you believe that Levy has him in mind as the future long term manager, then giving him a small taste was perhaps not such a bad idea.

It is expected that he will step aside and become the new number two learning his trade from an experienced older coach. There appear to be only two names in the frame, Cesare Prandelli the Italian national coach or Louis Van Gaal the Dutch national coach.

We looked at the type of character 56 year-old Cesare Prandelli is and what Spurs can expect in a recent article so in this one we will take a closer look at 62 year-old Louis Van Gaal.

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Candidate 1: Cesare Prandelli a coach with morals, respect and standards
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Van Gaal was asked recently by reporters where his next challenge was coming from after the World Cup, to which he replied:

"Maybe Tottenham are coming.

"I will definitely not be in charge for the Euro 2016 qualification campaign. I don't know where I will go next.

"Normally I go with my pension and go to live in Portugal, but maybe there will come a new challenge.

"I have said before that a challenge should be a club in the Premier League. That's a challenge."

That of course could be taken two ways depending upon his tone and humour when he said it, neither of which are reported. It could mean an agreement is already in place in principle with Daniel Levy or it could be a come and get me plea.

So what sort of guy is he?

He has an ego, he likes discipline, he is a strong character and not afraid to tell it like it is to players. He is more of an authoritarian than a Harry Redknapp type man manager. Read on and you'll see what I mean.

Luca Toni told the story of how Van Gaal dropped his trousers to show the Bayern Munich superstars that had the balls to drop any of them.

Toni was Bayern's top scorer in his first season, 2007/08 with them scoring 24 goals in 31 league games helping Bayern win the Bundesliga title. Overall he scored 39 goals and 12 assists in 46 matches. In2009 he left the stadium after being substituted, had a blazing row with Van Gaal and left the club the following January having only played 4 games for the club that season under new boss Van Gaal.

"Van Gaal simply didn't want to work with me, he treats players like interchangeable objects," Toni said.

"The coach wanted to make clear to us that he can drop any player, it was all the same to him because, as he said, he had the balls.

"He demonstrated this literally [by dropping his trousers]. I have never experienced anything like it, it was totally crazy. Luckily I didn't see a lot, because I wasn't in the front row."

Another ex-Bayern player criticised van Gaal's style, the Brazilian defender and former captain Lucio, who said the coach was part of the reason he left Munich in July 2009.

"Van Gaal hurt me more than anyone else in football."

Bayern president Uli Hoeness crtiticised him for being hard to work with and ex-captain Mark van Bommel quit the club suddenly to join AC Milan when he felt the same problem.

He had a massive row with Johan Cruyff at Ajax and when Ajax wanted him to become a Director, he was briefly in 2004 Technical Director, Cruyff put an end to that appointment with a legal challenge.

He clashed with the media in Spain and complained some of the players wouldn't do as he asked. He has rows with Rivaldo who wanted to play central whereas Van Gaal insisted he play on the left. His second brief spell at the Spanish giants saw him leave the club when they were only 3 points above the relegation zone.

He is demanding on himself and demanding on others so he will expect high standards from the players but for all the turmoil that surrounds him you can not deny his footballing record. As one Liverpool fan put it 'he is to football what Dumbledore is to Harry Potter.'

Louis van Gaal has won league titles in Germany (Bayern Munich), Spain (Barcelona) and Holland (Ajax & AZ Alkmaar) plus the Champions League with Ajax in 1995 and runner-up spot with Bayern Munich in 2010.

His list of honours makes impressive reading:
Ajax

Eredivisie (3): 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96
Johan Cruijff Shield (3): 1993, 1994, 1995
KNVB Cup: 1992–93
UEFA Cup: 1991–92
UEFA Champions League: 1994–95
Runner-up: 1996
UEFA Super Cup: 1995
Intercontinental Cup: 1995

Barcelona

La Liga (2): 1997–98, 1998–99
Copa del Rey: 1997–98
UEFA Super Cup: 1997

AZ Alkmaar

Eredivisie: 2008–09

Bayern Munich

Bundesliga: 2009–10
DFB-Pokal: 2009–10
DFB-Supercup: 2010
UEFA Champions League: Runner-up 2010

When in 2007/08 he told AZ Alkmaar he was leaving because of poor results, the players told the club they didn't want him to leave, so he stayed to give them a chance to prove their worth, they went on to win the title. Clearly some players get on with him.

At Bayern he reinvented the winger Bastian Schweinsteiger into a defensive midfielder, he developed youth players like Thomas Muller who became first team fixtures. He certainly has an eye for young talent so fits in with Levy's plan to develop a youthful side.

He believes in footballing centre-backs who must be comfortable on the ball which will be music to all you Vlad Chiriches fans out there. He believes a side must continually play together to create cohesion so his brand of total football can be played and that age is not a barrier if the player has experience.

His Holland side play 4-3-3 with the midfield consisting of a playmaker, a link player and a holding midfielder, as we had under Andre Villas Boas. He plays attacking football with a lot of passing to tire the opponents. It is a similar style to AVB but with an end product.

He is said to have integrity and honesty, that he treats footballers like children in a dictatorial fashion. He believes in collective responsibility and does not take kindly to any criticism at all.

His coaching philosophy is the right approach, as far as he's concerned. As Frank de Boer put it, "He's open to other ideas, but they must understand he won't budge."

"I am who I am; confident, arrogant, dominant, honest, hard-working and innovative," Van Gaal once declared. I think you could say it might be an interesting time if he was appointed, there is no doubt he is a winner, he upsets people, he puts noses out of joint.

As far as Van Gaal is concerned most, if not all, football journalists are incapable of understanding tactics to sufficiently analyse them. He thinks their opinions are meaningless and any criticism is seen as a personal attack on him. He once said to a journalist, "Am I so clever or are you so stupid?"

On another occasion he said, "Journalists think they know as much about football as I do, but they don't."

That should make for an interesting time with our media!

Clearly Daniel Levy in considering these two wants some discipline at the Lane, he doesn't necessarily want the manager to be the players best friend but to get results and turn them into winners. The nearly boys of White Hart Lane may be about to toughen up.




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