Louis van Gaal will be given the final say on Manchester United’s plans to return to America on tour next year after being invited back to the country by its main sponsors. With Aon, Chevrolet and Bulova delighted at how the squad has been received stateside, formative plans are being drawn up for United to visit New York, Chicago and Dallas in summer 2015.
Yet with Van Gaal complaining about the club’s commercial demands impacting on his ability to prepare players for the new season and the effects of jetlag and kick-off times, the Dutchman has made it clear he wants a revamp of the close-season schedule and will hold discussions with vice-chairman Ed Woodward on his return. The 62-year-old’s ideal scenario would beto have a week or 10-day trip to Europe, to cut down on travel time and disruption to players’ body clocks. However, Van Gaal is expected to recognise United’s commercial interests so a compromise is likely to be agreed. If America is the destination again next year, one plan being considered would be to have a single base location before flying out from there to play matches and service commercial demands.
But with Aon paying £180m to have its name on the club’s Carrington training complex, and Chevrolet’s fee for being United’s shirt sponsors around £47m a season, the club have commercial commitments that have to be undertaken. Chevrolet, as a car giant that have no presence in the United Kingdom, took up the deal as part of a strategy to increase revenue in the US and grow in the equally lucrative far east and Australasia markets, where United toured last year.
Meanwhile Denis Irwin, the former United left-back who was a member of the 1999 treble-winning side, is excited by Luke Shaw’s recent arrival at the club. “It’s a new era for us and Luke Shaw’s only just turned 19 so it’s going to be really interesting to see how he progresses,” he said of the England left-back. “He’s had two seasons in the first team at Southampton and he looks a really top player. It was a shame that Patrice [Evra] went because I’m sure Luke could have learned a lot from him.”
Rafael da Silva has flown home from the tour for treatment on the groin problem he suffered during training in Denver on Friday.