Marouane Fellaini is set to start up front for United in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier against Club Brugge tonight.
Fellaini scored 7 goals last season, including this cracker below, and Van Gaal is confident he can be well amongst the goals this season too.
“He can play in a 9 position and in a 10 but also 6 and 8 but this year he shall play more 9 and 10 than 6 and 8 because there [in midfield] we have more players.”
The Belgian - who in another life could have been a bespectacled jazz aficionado meticulously micro-managing the niche section of a hip records shop in a Bruges backstreet - is a big presence; strong, Velcro-chested, with a leap that can win the ball against most centre backs on his day. He sometimes appears to have the swagger of a man who was moulded from the traditional English centre forward, customized for the modern game. Decent feet? Check. Team player? Check. Marketable hairstyle? Check. He could be just what United need to awaken them from hibernation.
If he scores a goal or two tonight, it will be interesting to see if van Gaal sticks with him up top for their Premier League game away to Swansea at the weekend. A couple of good performances could see Rooney pushed back or, whisper it, relegated to the bench to make room.
It's an intriguing thought, and it begs the question of how much patience van Gaal will have for his misfiring captain if Fellaini takes his chance tonight.