The Dutchman faces a busy summer schedule as he leads Netherlands to the World Cup while also balancing the transfer window with preparations for the new Premier League season
The new Manchester United manager is not afraid of a challenge.
Louis van Gaal will attempt to juggle the World Cup hopes of a powerhouse – and demanding – footballing nation with preparations for a first Premier League season with his new club.
Before the Netherlands even fly out to Brazil on the evening of June 5, they will have already completed a training camp in Lagos, Portugal.
They worked for 10 days prior to Saturday’s friendly against Ecuador – a 1-1 draw that featured a stunning Robin van Persie volley – at the Amsterdam Arena.
On Tuesday afternoon, they will set off for Portugal, where they will stay at the Cascade Resort, training for a week and acclimatising to the heat that awaits them in Brazil before returning home on May 27.
Then come two friendlies, against Ghana and Wales, in Rotterdam and Amsterdam on May 31 and June 4 respectively.
The Dutch will fly to Rio de Janeiro the day after they face Aaron Ramsey – who will become a familiar foe for Van Gaal in 2014-15 – and Co.
They open their tournament against Spain on June 13 and close a difficult group stage against Chile on June 23, with a match against Australia sandwiched in between.
Fail to progress through to the second round and Van Gaal would face scrutiny in the English media for the first time before he has even taken a training session at Carrington.
His arrival in the North West will depend on Oranje‘s progress in Brazil but he may not start his new job in earnest until after July 13 if his side go all the way to the final at the Maracana.
In the meantime, Ryan Giggs, Ed Woodward and the rest of the team at Old Trafford will have plenty of work of their own to do. As reported by Goal, Van Gaal has detailed his own summer wishlist to be worked on while he is away.
A bid has already been made for Southampton left-back Luke Shaw and the former Barcelona boss seems intent on further strengthening the defence and midfield by targeting the likes of Kevin Strootman – who will miss the World Cup due to injury but has a huge admirer in Van Gaal – and Mats Hummels.
This summer always promised to be one of the most important in United’s recent history as they seek to belatedly move on from Sir Alex Ferguson’s all-encompassing influence.
Over a period of less than three months, Van Gaal will attempt to bear the weight of a nation and one of the world’s biggest football clubs on his back at the same time.