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Van Gaal’s Golden Willy

During Holland’s 2-0 win over Chile, confirming their place at the top of the group, Louis van Gaal made two substitutions. Fer was brought on the pitch at 75 minutes, then scored on 77 minutes. Memphis was also a second half sub and he scored Holland’s second goal.

Arjen Robben was asked about how Van Gaal managed to get his substitutions just right.

“Maybe Louis does have a golden willy,” he replied, smiling.

When Robben’s comment was relayed to him, Van Gaal replied: “I don’t know. Truus [his wife] has never told me that!”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Moseley Scholes says:

    I don’t think it’s justifiable to pay over the odds for a player based on so called long term investment. What happens if said player doesn’t live up to expectation? Has a career ending injury?

    No coach in their right mind would buy a player and say “There you go son… just turn up and your position is guaranteed for 10 years!)

    Nonsensical thinking and too many tangibles…

  2. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Moseley Scholes, where have you been the past 20 years since the formation of the premiership? Football is nonsensical in terms of valuations of players and wages.

    There is no guarantee on any transfer. We could buy Messi for a world record fee and he then went broke his leg and was never the same player. You can’t approach potential big money signings with “what if he get’s a serious injury” you’d never end up signing anyone.

  3. Moseley Scholes says:

    @Gary Mitrovic

    Of course there is no guarantee. I was referring (specifically) to the comments about long term investment and the fact that it’s not a good enough reason to pay over the odds for a player.

    Pay for ability, yes. Pay for potential, mmm… yes. But not based (purely) on the assumption that the player’s position in the team is going to be nailed down for 10+ years.

  4. Gary Mitrovic says:

    I think the long term investment is a reason for the possible singing of Shaw, as with any promising young player. Manchester United are not completely naive, their unrivalled somestic success suggests that strongly.

    Luke Shaw would be signed as the long term replacement for Patrice Evra and would be expected to show the dedication and professionalism of players gone by at Manchester United. It might work, it might not, that’s the unavoidable gamble of any signing.

    As for the price tag what’s new? We’re more often than not paying over the odds for players because of our name. That’s just unfortunately part of the game. The obscene amount of money being throwing around only looks like increasing unfortunately for foreseeable future.

  5. Gary Mitrovic says:

    I do think though that the reported wage package for Luke Shaw is pretty sickening. Too many of our native players are offered bumper pay packages before they’ve earned their stripes which is a huge problem.

    Generally at United though the management and staff are professional enough to look into the players eyes and see them day in day out to know if they’re resting on their laurels. Mediocrity and anything less than 100% professionalism should never be tolerated at any professional football club let alone one as big as Manchester United.

  6. Justin10RvN says:

    Unless he’s scoring 15+ goals a season, no fullback is worth 30+million. He’s a defender, I get he’s a very good one for his age but for half that price we can get someone that can defend as well if not better than him, as for his attacking, which to me is his best attribute, sign a winger of use and his attacking is redundant. Luke Shaw is a 10-15mil fullback tops, unfortunately he’s english and that means what ever your value is, is doubled.

  7. slim says:


    yeah, still not worth the asking price if you ask me
    With regards Toure, i’m mortified by his comments. You don’t get lower that that if you ask me
    There could have been some context missing or the true nature of the comments were lost in translation but its left me thinking even less of the man

  8. Gary Mitrovic says:

    The fact remains if Shaw is our number 1 target than we should do everything we can to get him. It’s long overdue since United pulled their weight in the transfer market for a club of their standing. If Shaw does sign and and progresses into the player he’s capable of then the transfer fee will be long forgotten in the future and put in the past. Take a look at Rio Ferdinand for that.

  9. tallestreD says:

    Tommy I just don’t get why he doesn’t get a sniff mate. Well as long as they are doing well no complains. About the match between Netherlands and Mexico I’ll tip the Dutch to win comfortably though. On Luke Shaw, whatever the amount, if the club wants him then they should get him. I mean in a market where David Luiz cost 50m then anything is possible.

  10. Marq says:

    Its been long since I visited this blog, seems like the appointment of LVG and Holland’s performance have lifted this place. Long may it continue and lets be rid of the poison of blasting each other’s opinion, myself included.

    Good to see many United players doing their bit at the WC. On the hot topic of transfers, seems like we are only going to get Shaw by paying a premium. Although I am not one who looks at the transfer fee, but £30m is a huge fee for an 18yr old. Blind would cost half of that. And my suspicion is LVG would probably be leaning towards Blind until after the WC when he can get full scouting reports of Shaw.

    Haven’t seen much of Herrera, but as it is now, with Anderson not even able to get games on loan, and Giggs retired. We definitely need some y overdue new blood. Hopefully More to come.

    Lastly, for all the talk about Rooney being our next captain. I’ve noticed RvP sticking up for all our lads, encouraging Nani, Hernandez acknowledging help from RvP, and more. No brainer for me, RvP should be our captain

  11. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    So it looks like this Herrera deal is legitimate. That’s good news. I must confess I haven’t seen a lot of him this past season. I only watched him at the beginning of last season because of all the rumors back then and he wasn’t really at the races but I heard that as the season grew, he became better and better and was a major reason they are in the Champions league next year. The fact that he’s leaving European football to play for us says a great deal about him as well. Clearly wants to play for us. He’s going to be absolutely superb in a 3 man midfield since he won’t have to do too much defending liek he would in a 2-man group.

    We still need at least one other superb all round midfielder after this though. Maybe even two if we’re feeling lucky.

  12. Blacksocks says:

    Signing any player is risky but for me Luke Shaw is worth the money. He has been first choice for Southampton for two seasons now (67 app) and will soon be first choice for England in that position too I expect. He’s English and if the reporting is to be believed – wants to play for United. You might well sign someone just as good who is foreign for 10m less but FIFA fair play restrictions mean any youmg English international will attract a hefty preminum.

    I hope United always have a core of home-grown talent – be it British (Fletcher and Welbeck) or foreign (Januzaj) – backed up by English players bought in (Jones and Ferdinand). In an ideal world more than half the matach day squad would consist of these players, it’s what makes us so different (and better) than City and Chelski.

    If Herrera and Shaw are already in place by the time LVG returns from the WC then I for one will be very happy. Kudos to Ed if he pulls these both off too!

  13. Dan Young says:

    random thought – what do you guys think of 2 years of xavi? whilst the likes of pereira, powell, pearson come through

  14. Blacksocks says:

    Sorry – that last sentence sounds so wrong!!!!!

  15. Blacksocks says:

    @ Dan Young

    I have admired Xavi and Iniesta from afar for many years now but I think the pace and physicality of PL games would probably not suit either of them at this stage of their careers.

  16. Marco Soares says:

    34 Million Pounds for Shaw is A LOT but as long as it’s the Glazers’ money I won’t be losing sleep over that, the more I watch of Blind the more I think United should stay away from him, In both the games against Australia and Chile I haven’t seen a full back beaten so easily and so consistantly.

  17. ashtheking says:


    I am all for us signing Xavi for two years. We will need some strong presence in midfield and Xavi still has got something in passing department. He need not play each game but he will be a great mentor for young players. I won’t mind us signing ax if or a year or two

  18. Dan Young says:

    blacksocks – id partly disagree, gerrard, lampard, scholes, giggs all have put in amazing performances over the past few years. the key is getting the right balance with younger energetic players in the team around a player that isnt quite as mobile.

    xavi is 2 years younger then lampard and the same age as gerrard. would you say gerrard had a bad season? obviously xavi isnt used to the premier league but id be amazed if he couldnt do well over the next 2 years.

    a better option is schweinsteiger, my only reason why i think xavi may be an easier option is that he is aparently looking at going to al-ain so champions league dosnt seem to be too high on his list of requirements

  19. Blacksocks says:

    @ Dan Young

    A good point but all those players you mention spent their whole careers in the PL whereas Xavi would have to adapt to it. I expect Carrick and Fletcher to play less next season, hopefully in support of Herrera, Powell and one other??? (Can LVG work his magic on Fellaini or Kagawa?) .

    Schweinsteiger would be a great option too – agreed!

    Still think we need a new centre back, I have my doubts over Smalling. Jones and Evans both injury prone too. Wonder who we’ll go for?

  20. kingshadieofafrica says:


    Bringing in xavi would be a great idea especially if we will be getting rid of carrick, i cant see both of them co-existing happily in the same team since both players play similar roles with Herrera and the youngsters providing competition.

  21. Dan Young says:

    blacksocks – id be more surprised if xavi didnt adapt to the premier league in his first year due to his experience, but there is obviously a chance he may not adapt atall. also as he is seemingly destined for al-ain then its clearly going to be a big contract that we will need to compete with.

    as for the defence, im a huge fan of michael keane. and i believe our downfall over the past few years defensively is down to us having a large amount of first team centrebacks. the days that we went 10+ games without conceiding we had 2 obvious first team centre backs and 2 youngsters biting at their heels but still learning how to be a first choice defender for manchester united. last season we had 5 centre backs that deserve to be in the starting 11 which causes the manager to have to rotate them and never get a settled back 4.

    i rate smalling (his first season was amazing alongside vidic), jones is my favourite for the future. evans has shown hes a great ball playing centreback that is capable of playing for united and also i believe michael keane is ready for first team oportunities. for that reason i only think we should bring in another centreback if LVG wants to play 3 at the back on a regular basis

    yeah i think carrick and fletcher will see less football next year. love the idea of powell getting 10-15 starts. herreras clearly going to start. i can see us bringing in clasie possibly to break up the opposition. i also wouldnt put money against us buying schweinsteiger

  22. Dan Young says:


    i can see a midfield of herrera – carrick – xavi working for us. maybe with mata ahead of them with rvp and rooney up top. id say carricks playing style is closer to busquets then it is to xavi, and they definitely play well together at barca. do you think we will play 2 or 3 in midfield next year?

  23. John says:

    Ander Herrera is a good midfielder. I think the club will announce soon as it coincides with the time gap the Dutch have before their second round WC game.

    I have absolutely no doubt this is the first signing among atleast 4 major signings.

    So guys keep patience with your preferred line ups for Next season. :)

  24. Dan Young says:

    reports saying herrera is on a plane to manchester

  25. kingshadieofafrica says:

    van gaal plays with two different formation, both utilizing a 2 and 3 man midfield respectively. his current setup with holland (533) utilizes two central midfielders, one an enforcer while the other a playmaker with sneijder playing behind the strikers as a trequartista. his previous setup at bayern (433) utilized two central midfielders one a box to box midfielder (schweinsteiger) the other a playmaker (kroos) with a defensive midfielder playing in front of the defence as an enforcer (gustavo).

    in both these setups carrick and xavi would struggle to co-exist seeing as there is just one place for a central playmaker.

  26. John says:

    One thing is certain that those bunch of journalists know only as much as we do when it comes to transfer insights esp this season. :)

    Good progress from Woodward this summer. :)

  27. m09538061 says:

    Sturidge,5 chances none on target and they’re still making excuses for him?
    The Golden boy of English football?
    Apart from being a c**t he’s also a cheat!
    He should stick to his shit dancing!

  28. OpikBidin says:

    Gerrard-Lampard is still being tried, do England managers learn. And Roy isn’t brave enough to sub sturridge.

  29. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    hahahahahahaha Suarez did it again. HE BIT ANOTHER PLAYER. hahahahahaha.

  30. Tommy says:

    @Dan Young

    Xavi would still be playing for barca but has decided he cant handle a top level football throughout a season any more, so has chosen the money and easy football otherwise he would stay at barca so its very unlikely he would move to England at this stage of season.

  31. Tommy says:

    A changed man apparently, well Rats never change, they are always going to be rats, bit unkind to a sewer rat to compare it to suarez, Chilini shout of nutted the cunt, the worst thing about it is he went down holding his teeth, fucking pleb

  32. The One says:

    Tommy, he’s changed alright, from racially abusing opponents to biting them.

  33. Blacksocks says:

    FIFA have to act over Suarez now, talk is of a 2 year ban – now that would put a smile on my face :-)

    Personally I would kick Uraguay out of the competition too and reinstate Italy. Once players see that violent actions on the pitch directly effect their own team (and team-mates) they might think twice before acting in a manner that would earn you a prison sentence if you did it any where else.


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