Michael Lintorn lauds Louis van Gaal's appointment in listing why Man United will be back on top in 2014/15...
"Man United are 6.611/2 third favourites to return to the top next term. That price has already darted in from 12.5 and will shorten further as high-profile signings arrive."
Despite being forced to settle for seventh in their first Premier League season post-Sir Alex Ferguson, Man United are 6.611/2 third favourites to return to the top next term. That price has already darted in from 12.5 and will only shorten further as the high-profile signings arrive though, so here are five reasons to get on board early...
The new boss is a quick learner
Louis van Gaal has won league championships for all four clubs that he has coached and has a record for instantly delivering success. The Dutchman's first campaign in La Liga saw him guide Barcelona back to the top in 1997/98. He led AZ Alkmaar to second in his first term there in 2005/06 - their highest finish in 25 years - and immediately bossed the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich in 2009/10.
They won't screw up another window
It is rumoured that van Gaal will receive as much as £150 million to spend. The recruitment effort will be aided further by the fact that they have worked on targets like Luke Shaw for months having been punished for a lack of planning last summer. They can't offer Champions League football, but van Gaal is more of a draw than David Moyes, especially to youngsters due to his star-making skills.
There are no European commitments
Man United's non-involvement in the 2014/15 Champions League and Europa League isn't great for finances, yet it is ideal for accelerating their revival. Liverpool benefitted hugely from playing just once a week last season, as did Roma in Serie A. Several sides have used a lack of continental action to their advantage to claim major European titles in recent years, such as Juventus and Montpellier.
They are never away long
The Red Devils have won 13 of the 22 prior Premier League titles and, even more impressively, have only once gone more than one campaign without winning one, when struggling to handle Arsenal's invincibility and Chelsea's wheelbarrows of money between 2004 and 2006. Sure, they have a lot of distance to recover, but the 2013/14 winning mark of 86 was the joint-second lowest in 11 years. The last four times that top spot was earned with a tally that low, the champions failed to retain.
Post-World Cup is peak time
Man United often get a rough deal at the World Cup, with the likes of David Beckham (1998) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2006) returning from the tournament as nationwide villains. However, they are experts at negotiating the intense fallout and starting the new cycle strongly, finishing first in all four Premier League seasons to have followed a World Cup that England participated in.