Manchester United have denied reports in Holland which claim an agreement is in place for Louis van Gaal to become their new manager.
Following a disastrous season which looks on course to end with a seventh place finish and no qualification for Europe, David Moyes was last week sacked less than 12 months into the six-year contract he was given last summer. Ryan Giggs has taken temporary charge for the remainder of the campaign, but despite this being unanimously popular amongst the fans, it is unlikely the Welshman will be appointed on a permanent basis.
It was initially suggested that Sir Alex Ferguson, who chose Moyes to succeed him, was keen for the club to now turn to Carlo Ancelotti. But the Italian, who won the Premier League and FA Cup double for Chelsea in 2010 before controversially being sacked the following season, has another two years left on his contract at Real Madrid, and revealed on Friday that he has every intention of seeing out his time at the Bernabeu.
Jurgen Klopp, the hugely popular Borussia Dortmund coach, is another potential candidate who has ruled himself out of the running, whilst there seems little chance – or maybe even desire from United’s perspective – to approach Jose Mourinho, who is thought to have wanted the job last year before he eventually returned to Chelsea. Diego Simeone, of Atletico Madrid, has also been mentioned, as has Juventus boss Antonio Conte.
However, even before the Reds had confirmed the departure of Moyes on Tuesday morning, the leading candidate for the job was van Gaal. The 62-year-old has won titles with Bayern Munich, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar and Ajax, the latter of whom he also led to the UEFA Champions League back in 1995. Although he is currently in charge of the Holland national side, he will become a free agent at the end of the World Cup Finals.
And according to reports in Holland’s De Telegraaf, van Gaal has reached an agreement with United to become their next manager ahead of next season. When asked about these reports on Saturday morning, the Old Trafford giants, though, denied that they had reached an agreement with a new manager: “There is nothing to report. We have not signed a new manager. When we have something to report, we will announce it.”
Whilst there would be a concern that van Gaal would not be able to oversee training or possibly even meet the majority of the United squad until he returns from Brazil, there is no reason why he wouldn’t be able to put his transfer plans into action beforehand. Last summer, for example, Manchester City signed Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Fernandinho on Manuel Pellegrini’s recommendation before the Chilean took charge.
Ferguson, meanwhile, has supported Giggs should the 40-year-old decide to pursue the job on a permanent basis. He said: “I think that he is the one man they should go to, really. He’s got 20-odd years of experience at Manchester United. He’s gone through the gamut of emotions at the club – he’s experienced all the highs and lows.”