He likes a captain he can “click with” and Robin van Persie looks in pole position after a rich tribute paid to his leadership skills on Saturday.
Turning to someone with only one season of genuine United accomplishments rather than Wayne Rooney, an Old Trafford talisman, seems questionable. But Van Gaal will not be influenced by public opinion.
Return to the Champions League
Failure to do so would be catastrophic for United, who will characterise the 2014-15 season outside of continental football as an exceptional one-off.
There will be heavy spending – possibly more than £150m this summer – as the club seek to return to Europe, although Arsenal’s weekend undertaking to back Arsène Wenger reveals the size of the competition.
Coach team in his 4-3-3 style
“You have to play as a team and not as individuals,” was how Van Gaal defined it recently.
“That’s why I’m always looking for the vision, then the team, and then which players fit in my system, a 1-4-3-3, because I’m always playing that.
"If a young player can do it, I select him. If it’s an older player, it doesn’t bother me. Age is not important.”
Harness talent Fergie saw
United accept that to bring in more than six players would destabilise the squad.
So as well as developing the next generation of players, Van Gaal will need to bring out the potential in Alex Ferguson era players who have not shone so much lately such as Danny Welbeck, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Shinji Kagawa and others.