Former Manchester United and Barcelona boss Louis van Gaal is set to be named Dutch head coach for the third time in his career after negotiations between the 69-year-old and KNVB were reported to have reached the “final phase”.
After being involved in football management almost continuously for 25 years when he left United in 2016, Van Gaal suggested that he retire a few months later for family reasons. He then confirmed his retirement in 2019 and stated that he did not intend to take additional jobs in football.
Van Gaal most recently defeated the Netherlands at the 2014 World Cup / Jean Catuffe / Getty Images
But quickly until 2021, the self-recognized “pensioner” seems to have been tempted to take over from Frank de Boer as the new Dutch national team coach.
Dutch outlet NOS writes that Van Gaal is now “almost certain” of being named De Boers’ successor after a disappointing Euro 2020, with negotiations reaching an advanced stage.
It is said that Danny Blind, a longtime ally of Van Gaal who returns to Ajax’s all-conquest team from the early to mid-1990s and formerly a national team manager himself, will join his mentor as an assistant coach – Blind was also previously an assistant for Van Gaal at the 2014 World Cup.
Henk Fraser, who was the Netherlands’ under-21 coach at the time and is currently in charge of Sparta Rotterdam, the club where Van Gaal spent the happiest years of his playing career, will also join the coaching staff. The couple, along with Blind, were also brief teammates there in the mid-1980s.
It had been reported that Liverpool defender and Orange captain Virgil van Dijk led a player uprising against Van Gaal who was appointed head coach. However, Van Dijk publicly denied such allegations on social media, with a blunt tweet calling it “completely false” and accusing the journalist behind the original story of doing so.
Van Gaal was Man Utd manager from 2014 to 2016 / Alex Livesey / Getty Images
Van Gaal guided the Netherlands to third place at the 2014 World Cup, where his well-drilled teams beat Spain and Brazil along the way. However, his first leading position had resulted in him not qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.
At club level, Van Gaal is best known for his performances as an Ajax coach and won the UEFA Cup and Champions League during a golden period in the 1990s. He also won league titles with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, as well as breaking up the Dutch status quo to win the Eredivisie with AZ.
At Manchester United, he won the FA Cup in 2016 but was fired a few days later.
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