Louis van Gaal on his way to lead Manchester United
Louis van Gaal has made his most public declaration yet that he would like to be the next Manchester United manager and stated that he would love to work for "the biggest club in the world".
Speculation has been rife that United would appoint a successor to David Moyes this week, with Van Gaal the firm favourite. However, it is now understood there will be no announcement from the club until next week and the delay might have prompted the Dutchman to break cover yesterday.
"I would love the job," he said at the start of a three-day World Cup training camp with the Netherlands.
"I hope that I shall be the one. It's the biggest club in the world and it's a fantastic challenge."
He added: "You people are thinking I'm the man but the most important thing is whether Manchester United are thinking that."
Van Gaal's immediate focus is the Netherlands' World Cup campaign next month. This brings added complications to United's hopes of making a rapid appointment but the 62-year-old is adamant he can secure his long-term future while also preparing for the tournament in Brazil.
"I have to focus on my job," Van Gaal said. "I am coach of the Dutch national team. I have waited a long time to be in a World Cup so that's very important.
"This doesn't affect me. I have always had offers. I know what the football world is and what it means."
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach denied any agreement had been reached yet with United.
"There is no deal," he said. "There are newspapers saying that I've already signed, there are even names of assistants. It's too bad that it goes this way.
"There are several clubs interested in Louis van Gaal, we'll see what I choose to do and what choice that clubs are going to make. It's a process, so it goes with all clubs."
It's unclear whether Van Gaal will be bringing in Patrick Kluivert as his assistant; some reports suggest the former Holland striker isn't keen on remaining as a No.2; that will of course lead to renewed speculation that Ryan Giggs will have a prominent role with the new regime.
The temporary incumbent at Old Trafford reiterated the neutral line about delaying any decision on his future as a player or as a part of the coaching staff until the end of the campaign. In truth, there is nothing to decide until United's intentions towards Van Gaal are made clear.
The 3-1 victory against Hull made it two wins from three matches under Giggs and demonstrated his understanding of the values and expectations at the club.
His selection of 18-year-old striker James Wilson, vindicated by two goals, along with 20-year-old Tom Lawrence, showed his instinctive appreciation of the demands at United, a club predicated on youth.
Giggs' post-match address was further evidence of a figure with an intuitive command of the stage, revealing the kind of natural leadership qualities United are keen to retain and foster.
It might be that to expose him immediately to the daily rigours of absolute control is premature, but not as a first lieutenant in a Van Gaal regime with a view to assuming control down the line.
That was a view echoed yesterday by Giggs' former United team-mate Denis Irwin.
"He knows the club inside out, he has all the attributes and qualities to make a manager," Irwin said. "Whether they plump for him now, I don't know. My heart says I would love him to be manager, my head says maybe we need more experience."