Now that current Netherlands coach, Louis Van Gaal, has been confirmed as the new Manchester United manager.
The Dutchman faces a daunting task to restore the former Premier League champions to the top of the English and European game.
According to Reuters, below are the 10 issues which should be at the top of his to-do list when he starts work at Carrington after the 2014 World Cup ends in Brazil on 13 July:
1. Win the dressing room:
Unreserved faith and support from United’s senior players will be imperative for Van Gaal to work in the right kind of atmosphere at Old Trafford, something his predecessor David Moyes apparently lacked.
It will also help if he sees things eye-to-eye with his assistant Ryan Giggs, who should play a crucial role in bonding the dressing room with the iron-fisted Dutchman.
A healthy relationship between the coach and the players is the basic prerequisite for United to restore the Alex Ferguson-era confidence that was so palpably shattered by poor results under Moyes.
2. Quality signings:
Luring top names to a club missing out on Champions League football is not an easy task but Van Gaal will quickly have to identify his transfer targets and splash out a considerable amount of money to sign them.
With United set to lose 30 million pounds ($50.4 million) in revenues after failing to qualify for the Champions League or even the second-tier Europa League, there is no room for flops such as Marouane Fellaini, who joined last year from Moyes’s former club Everton.
3. Sort out the defence:
United’s back four looked very fragile under Moyes, with ageing stalwarts Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic struggling to perform to their former capability.
With the latter off to Inter Milan and the former also on his way out of Old Trafford, Van Gaal may be forced to turn to Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans, none of whom has convinced at the heart of the backline.
In all probability, the coach’s first priority in the transfer market will be to find a top central defender who will shore up the leaks. Left back also appears to be a weak link with Patrice Evra uncertain about his United future and Alex Buttner short of experience and quality.
* Former Man United’s coach, David Moyes
Juan Mata will certainly add bite up front in an attacking midfield role but United are still craving for a playmaker who acts as a link between defence and the forwards.
While Michael Carrick has done a decent job as a holding midfielder protecting the back four, his limited mobility and lack of thrust was always a glaring chink in United’s engine room after Paul Scholes stopped pulling the strings.
Signing a top name in this department will be another challenge for Van Gaal, who will also have to make the best use of Mata and Shinji Kagawa while hoping that the much-criticised Tom Cleverley can make substantial progress
* New United’s coach, Louis Van Gaal (right)
5. Revert to attacking football:
Van Gaal’s philosophy is a perfect match with United’s long-standing strategy of always taking the game to the opposition, even if it sometimes meant risky attacking.
This trait was lost in big games under Moyes, notably in the Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich and clashes with top Premier League rivals Manchester City and Liverpool.
United looked completely at sea in a cagey formation and reports that the players never came to terms with it fuelled Moyes’s abrupt departure after only 10 months in charge.
6. Decide where to use Wayne Rooney:
Having secured Rooney’s long-term future at the club, United will hope that the 27-year old will fire on all cylinders next season as the club aims to climb back into the Premier League’s top four.
Van Gaal will need to decide whether to use him as a “number 10” or an out and out striker, as Rooney can operate effectively in both positions.
His finishing needs to be more clinical for a striker and he also lacks the subtlety of an Alessandro Del Piero or Francesco Totti in a deeper role.
But if he is used consistently in a single position instead of being moved across the front line, Rooney could deliver under Van Gaal.