Manchester United to appoint Louis van Gaal next week – with Ryan Giggs on staff
Louis van Gaal anticipates being appointed Manchester United manager by the start of next week, leaving him just a few days to establish transfer market priorities before he begins preparations for the World Cup with the Dutch national team.
The United chief executive, Ed Woodward, whose prospects of securing Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti perished after the club advanced to the Champions League final on Tuesday, urgently needs a manager to help tie up transfer business before attention turns to Brazil.
But the need to find an experienced successor to David Moyes has been balanced by a determination to ensure that Ryan Giggs will be a key, senior part of the new back-room staff.
Finding a role befitting Giggs’ value to the club as future management material is likely to have formed a key part of negotiations with Van Gaal, who wants to bring as many as five of his own staff to Old Trafford.
Continuity with the past is of huge significance to Woodward, who knows that Giggs would not be receptive to a minor role in the new set-up. It remains unclear whether the 40-year-old, in temporary charge of United, would be the Dutchman’s No 2, though United are likely to find a way to balance the ambitions of both.
Van Gaal ascribes more importance to the composition of his back-room team than most managers. He wants staff who will communicate his philosophy and ensure that the style of football he adheres to is played at all levels of his club. His discussions with previous clubs have stretched to seven or eight hours, just to ensure that the practical details are enshrined in his contract.
His ambitious footballing style and commitment to young players are certainly not out of keeping with the philosophy Giggs has picked up from Sir Alex Ferguson. United will hope that Giggs can view working with Van Gaal as preparation to managing the club himself.
Fine-tuning transfer targets will be Van Gaal’s priority and time is short, as the Dutch World Cup preparations begin next Wednesday with a 10-day training camp at Hoenderloo for the national team’s domestic-based players. The full squad meet-up follows in Portugal on 20 May.
By then, the Dutch will have faced Ecuador in a warm-up game on 17 May, six days after the end of the Premier League season, with fixtures against Ghana and Wales to follow before the group stage in Brazil against Chile, Spain and Australia. The Dutch FA does not want United to represent any distraction to Van Gaal beyond Wednesday.
United are under pressure to tie up transfer targets before the World Cup and Van Gaal would face a hectic few days assessing potential signings such as Southampton’s Luke Shaw, Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho and Bayern Munich’s Toni Kroos. United are already second in the race for €40m (£32m) Carvalho, with his agent, Jorge Mendes, under pressure from Real Madrid to place him there.
Carvalho had seemed to be the solution to United’s long-standing lack of a defensive midfielder, though Mendes’ relationship with Real’s president, Florentino Perez, may be key to him heading to the Bernabeu. Ancelotti is understood to prefer the former United player Paul Pogba, now at Juventus.
Van Gaal may also be interested in the Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels.
Though the outcome of Tuesday night’s Champions League semi-final between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid might have had the potential to add another manager to the list United had to choose from, Pep Guardiola is likely to feel that departing Germany after one season would represent a failure.
With Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski to reinforce his side, the feeling is that the 5-0 aggregate defeat to Ancelotti’s team is no reason for the Spaniard to leave Munich.
Ancelotti’s lukewarm feelings for Real and Perez had also been viewed as something United could exploit. But the problem of the Italian not being available until the conclusion of the Champions League final on 24 May rules out the prospect of Woodward waiting.