12:57 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
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The Busby Babe 5 hours ago

Louis van Gaal hails "beautiful" United

Following the hammering of LA Galaxy, Manchester United's new manager was delighted at the ease with which the team took to his plans. Seven-nil, hey? Not bad. Not bad at all. The results of pre-season friendlies are things of very little consequence, but still, there's no way last night's performance can be considering anything other than encouraging. Particularly where a squad are being asked to play football in a shape to which they are thoroughly unaccustomed. And Louis van Gaal was certainly pleased: We introduced a new system that we have only played two times on the training pitch...
The Busby Babe 6 hours ago

Louis van Gaal and the resurgence of the 3-man defence

Louis van Gaal is bringing the three-man defence back into fashion. The back three certainly isn't a new invention, though it is enjoying a resurgence in domestic and international football at present. Louis van Gaal led a pretty unspectacular Netherlands side to a World Cup semifinal with a 3-4-1-2, while Costa Rica and Mexico also progressed beyond expectations with a similar formation. Now it's hitting domestic football outside of its natural home in Italy, and van Gaal is leading the revolution. "I can change back if the system doesn't work," said van Gaal in the aftermath of...
The Busby Babe 11 hours ago
Manchester United 7-0 LA Galaxy: Ander Herrera stars as United romp to victory

Manchester United 7-0 LA Galaxy: Ander Herrera stars as United romp to victory

The Louis van Gaal era has started with a bang. Manchester United cruised to a 7-0 win over the LA Galaxy in their first pre-season game under Louis van Gaal. It was about as confident a performance and convincing a victory as the Red Devils could have hoped for, with their MLS opponents totally taken apart. Van Gaal opted to start the game with the same 3-4-1-2 formation he used to impressive effect with the Netherlands at the World Cup. Luke Shaw was given the nod on the left, Antonio Valencia on the right, with captain Darren Fletcher and Ander Herrera in the centre of midfield. Juan...

Manchester United vs. LA Galaxy: Live thread

The Louis van Gaal era begins with three at the back. So, the official first teamsheet of the Louis van Gaal era is as follows: (3-4-1-2): David de Gea; Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans; Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Darren Fletcher, Luke Shaw; Juan Mata; Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck. Intriguing. It seems like it could suit everybody involved, particularly the defenders, although the record of three-at-the-back systems in England is not particularly great. Unfortunately, The Busby Babe lives in London, Paris and Manchester, and so it will be 4am when we start. And I'm writing this...

VIDEO: Dutch TV show parodies Louis van Gaal in English

A Dutch TV show has made a comedy sketch featuring our new manager, which is mildly amusing. Louis van Gaal has something of a reputation in his native land. It's preceded him to a certain extent here, but we're still unsure of him, and were English TV to attempt a comedy sketch poking fun at him, they'd probably come out with something terrible and faintly xenophobic. Well, let's be honest, English TV would probably do that regardless of how much they knew about him. Still, on the continent, they know what makes their man tick, so we thought we'd share this clip of Van Gaal taking English...
The Busby Babe Jul 23, 2014

Van Gaal unhappy with pre-season arrangements

And when Louis van Gaal is unhappy, things get done. One week, he's been in the job. One week, and not only has Louis van Gaal already decided to take on the might of Manchester United's sprawling commercial arm, but he's taken it on and won. Asked in a press conference whether United's pre-season schedule was have a negative effect on his preparations for the coming season, he replied: More or less, yes. We have to prepare the season and when you have commercial activities and dreadful distances, having to fly a lot and the jet lag, it is not very positive for a good preparation. The tour...
The Busby Babe Jul 23, 2014
Jürgen Klopp dismisses speculation linking United with Mats Hummels

Jürgen Klopp dismisses speculation linking United with Mats Hummels

According to the Borussia Dortmund manager, his star defender won't be moving to United any time soon. Yesterday "reports in Spain" suggested that Manchester United had moved a little closer to signing Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels. Unsurprisingly, those Spanish reports about the future of a German defender moving from a German club to one in England don't seem to be very accurate. Dortmund manager Jürgen Klopp seemed fairly bullish in his response: Klopp about Hummels to Man Utd: "If that's not a bullshit story, I'll eat a broom stick" (via @SkySportNewsHD) — Raphael...
The Busby Babe Jul 22, 2014
Louis van Gaal orders United to change training surfaces

Louis van Gaal orders United to change training surfaces

Does this count as a big summer signing? Louis van Gaal hasn't taken long to start implementing his famed 'vision' with characteristically uncompromising command. According to a report in the Guardian today, Manchester United's new boss has ordered the Red Devils' training pitches at Carrington to be ripped up and replaced by a "synthetic-grass hybrid material" known as Desso. Now, this isn't quite as radical as it may seem, as according to journalist Jamie Jackson, Old Trafford has had Desso since last year, and a quick look at the Desso GrassMaster Wikipedia page (exciting stuff!)...
The Busby Babe Jul 22, 2014

Italian press: new bid for Juventus midfielder

It is happening again. It is happening again. It is happening again. We at tBB are officially bored of Arturo Vidal. The backlash begins here. He's rubbish, he's got silly hair, he's definitely not exactly the kind of player that United's midfield has been crying out for since ... since Roy Keane left, maybe, and he's rubbish. And has silly hair. And is rubbish. But that's not swaying Louis van Gaal and it's not swaying Ed Woodward; at least, not if you believe Italian newspaper Tuttosport. A bid of €40m has been rejected, apparently, but a new bid's going in, one that starts at €43m...
The Busby Babe Jul 22, 2014
United

United "closing in" on Dortmund star - reports

A couple of papers have United getting closer to a deal for World Cup winner and part-time pirate lookalike Mats Hummels, which would be nice. Unfortunately, it might also be nonsense. "Reports from Spain". It's a good phrase. Both mysterious and reassuring, as though the short hop across the water from the Iberian peninsula has invested these reports with an exotic authority. Surely a rumour wouldn't come all that way just to waste everybody's time? These particular reports from Spain have originated with the Catalan newspaper Sport, who are claiming in no uncertain terms that (a) Borussia...
The Busby Babe Jul 21, 2014

Ferguson may explain Moyes' appointment in expanded autobiography

News that Alex Ferguson is to publish an expanded edition of his autobiography raises an obvious question: will he explain exactly whose decision it was to appoint David Moyes? Exciting publishing news, ladies and gentlemen. Alex Ferguson — you remember him: noted wine expert, author, business studies lecturer — is to publish an expanded edition of his autobiography, first published in October 2013 According to manutd.com, this expanded edition will include: reflections on events at Manchester United since [Ferguson's] retirement as well as his teachings at the Harvard Business...
The Busby Babe Jul 21, 2014

Patrice Evra leaves United for Juventus

Manchester United's veteran left-back has left the club after nine trophy-laden years. Well, it's been coming for a while, so hopefully you're all braced for the blow. Patrice Evra, left-back and hero, has officially left Manchester United. He will join Italian champions Juventus for a fee of around £1.2m. In a statement to the club website, Evra thanked Alex Ferguson, his teammates and coaches, the Old Trafford staff and, of course, the fans: My biggest thanks go to the fans. We have had some fantastic times together, we lifted all of those trophies together and that night in Moscow...
The Busby Babe Jul 20, 2014

Woodward on transfers: "Watch this space"

Ed Woodward has been making noises with his mouth again. It's not easy being Ed Woodward. Last summer, as David Moyes sat awkwardly in his office chair and tried to ignore the screaming of his soul, Manchester United's executive vice-chairman was also struggling to adjust to his new role. Turns out there's more to life than an endless supply of Official Peanut Partners. Moyes has gone, but Woodward's still here. And, to give him his due, he appears to be getting better at the transfer side of things. Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera were both signed in good time, albeit for big money, and...
The Busby Babe Jul 20, 2014

United moving for Dutch World Cup star - reports

According to the papers, Manchester United are looking to add Feyenoord defender Stefan de Vrij to their squad. Five days now. Five long, empty days. Five days of Louis van Gaal have come and gone and Manchester United have yet to sign a Dutchman. All that avaricious time spent during the World Cup -- yep, we'll have him, and him, and him, and oh, yes, definitely him -- has so far been in vain. But that may be about to change, at least if the Mirror's information is good, with the purchase of Stefan de Vrij from Feyenoord. De Vrij, who you may recall scoring the Netherlands' third goal...
The Busby Babe Jul 18, 2014
United name tour squad to face Real Madrid, Roma and others

United name tour squad to face Real Madrid, Roma and others

There are a few notable omissions from Louis van Gaal's first United squad, which will tour the USA before the start of the Premier League season. The squad for Manchester United's pre-season has been announced today. Along with a small army of support staff, Louis van Gaal will be taking the following 25 footballers to the USA: Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Anders Lindegaard, Ben Amos, Sam Johnstone; Defenders: Rafael, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Tyler Blackett, Michael Keane, Reece James Midfielders: Ander Herrera, Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Ashley Young,...
The Busby Babe Jul 17, 2014
Trouble brewing between Van Gaal and sponsors?

Trouble brewing between Van Gaal and sponsors?

At his first Manchester United press conference, Louis van Gaal took the unusual step of singling the sponsors out for a special mention. Twice. What was he up to? Sponsors are always present at press conferences. They're at the back, printed on the big board, hanging behind whoever's talking like really rubbish wallpaper. Nobody really notices them any more, but it's a space that costs a fortune and subconsciously makes you think better of Nikoflohubermisterpotato, so there they stay. But they're not usually mentioned by anybody. One of the more intriguing aspects of Louis van Gaal's first...

Van Gaal unveiling roundup: "The challenge is first, not fourth"

Louis van Gaal was in fine form during his unveiling press conference at Manchester United. So, Louis van Gaal has been officially unveiled. A brief summary of his answers... "Manchester United is the biggest club in the world." Van Gaal repeated this throughout the conference, but he also was surprisingly candid in saying "of course you finished seventh last year so you were not the biggest in the sporting sense", but that the club is "known worldwide." He then decided to have a go at the Mirror's David McDonnell for asking him to predict what would happen in the season, which was nice. On...
The Busby Babe Jul 17, 2014

Michael Carrick injured in pre-season

United's veteran midfielder will miss a significant chunk of the season, new manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed. Louis van Gaal, with not a little style, saved the biggest bombshell of his press conference for the very end. Asked about the importance of experience, he casually mentioned that Michael Carrick, who appears to like, has sustained an injury and may be missing for "a long time". He then thanked everybody, smiled, and strolled from the room. Cold. Now, Carrick didn't have the greatest of seasons last term, and even when he's playing well he's not everybody's cup of tea. But Van...
The Busby Babe Jul 17, 2014

Class of 92 set to keep roles under Louis van Gaal

Louis van Gaal has revealed Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville should have roles within his coaching team. One of the more interesting lines from Louis van Gaal's introductory press conference was his confirmation that Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville are likely to have roles within his coaching team next season. The 'Class of 92' trio were brought in by Ryan Giggs during his interim spell as Manchester United manager, and looked set to depart after van Gaal's appointment. However, despite the Dutchman bringing in Albert Stuivenberg, Marcel Bout and goalkeeping coach Frans...
The Busby Babe Jul 17, 2014
Manchester United linked with Real Madrid and France star

Manchester United linked with Real Madrid and France star

According to reports in France, Real Madrid's Raphaël Varane has been making encouraging noises in the direction of Old Trafford. Sceptical hats on, people. Sceptical hats well and truly pulled down to the ears. Sceptical scarf and mittens on too. Make sure you're wrapped up sceptically. Wouldn't want your extremities catching hopebite. Now that you're prepared, here's the nonsense. According to French football daily Le10 Sport — no, us neither — Manchester United have not only been asking about France international Raphaël Varane, but they have been encouraged by the responses to...