English Premiership

Van Gaal on brink of Utd job

2014-05-15 11:12
Louis van Gaal (AFP)

London - Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal will have to wait until next week before being appointed as Manchester United's new manager, British media outlets claimed on Thursday.

Newspaper reports earlier in the day had suggested that the Dutchman's appointment was imminent, but the Press Association said that although a "broad agreement" had been reached, "no deal has yet been signed".

United refused to comment on the matter when contacted by AFP, but in a conference call to investors, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said that an announcement would be made "in due course".

Van Gaal, 62, quickly emerged as the favourite to become United's next manager after David Moyes was sacked last month and is reported to have held a meeting with player-coach Ryan Giggs in Holland on Wednesday.

Giggs, who was appointed interim manager following Moyes's dismissal, was pictured in Van Gaal's hometown of Noordwijk and is thought to have been offered the chance to work as his assistant.

The Guardian newspaper reported that Giggs was invited to Van Gaal's home, where the pair held a discussion "lasting around three hours".

Van Gaal would not comment when approached by a reporter from British television station Sky Sports News as he left a book launch in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

The straight-talking Dutchman, who has also previously coached Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich, is currently preparing the Netherlands squad for a friendly game against Ecuador on Saturday.

His contract with Holland means that he would not be able to join up with United until after this year's World Cup in Brazil, which would not be until mid-July if the team reached the latter stages of the tournament.

If appointed, he would become the first manager from outside the British Isles to take charge of United.

Van Gaal admitted his interest in taking up the role in an interview with the BBC last week.

"I would love the job," he said. "I hope that I shall be the one. It's the biggest club in the world and it's a fantastic challenge."

- 'Brilliant reputation' -

However, he warned: "You (the media) are thinking I'm the man, but the most important thing is whether Manchester United are thinking that."

Giggs, meanwhile, has praised Van Gaal, who led a young Ajax team to glory in the 1995 Champions League and has also won league titles in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany.

"He has a brilliant reputation," said the 40-year-old Welshman.

"He is a successful manager in different countries. Obviously he has taken Holland to the World Cup. He has a fantastic pedigree."

Giggs, United's record appearance-maker, is still to announce whether he intends to prolong his 23-year playing career until next season.

Speaking after coming on to make his 963rd appearance for the club in a 3-1 win at home to Hull City last week, he told reporters: "I've not decided yet. Nothing has changed."

He added: "I'll wait until the season has finished and then get a holiday and think about it in the next couple of weeks."

Former Everton manager Moyes endured a disastrous campaign after succeeding Alex Ferguson last year and was sacked in April.

United went on to finish seventh in the Premier League and failed to qualify for Europe for the first time since 1989.

Despite their on-pitch struggles, United on Thursday announced a record 26 percent rise in revenue to 115.5 million ($193.5 million, 141.7 million euros) in their latest financial results for the period up to March 31.

In a statement to investors, Woodward said that "all of our businesses delivered impressive year over year growth".

He added: "This puts us in a healthy financial position to continue to invest in the squad.

"Everyone at the club is working hard to ensure the team is back challenging for the title and trophies next season."

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16 August 2014
Manchester United v Swansea City, Old Trafford 13:45
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Stoke City v Aston Villa, Britannia Stadium 16:00
Leicester City v Everton, King Power Stadium 16:00
Queens Park Rangers v Hull City, Loftus Road Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland, The Hawthorns 16:00
Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Emirates Stadium 18:30
17 August 2014
Liverpool v Southampton, Anfield 14:30
Newcastle United v Manchester City, St. James' Park 17:00
18 August 2014
Burnley v Chelsea, Turf Moor 21:00
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