Belfast Telegraph

Ambitious Swansea will attempt to lure Giggs from United

By Mark Ogden

Swansea City are keen to assess Ryan Giggs' managerial intentions before making a final decision on the identity of Garry Monk's successor at the Liberty Stadium.

Giggs, currently acting as Louis van Gaal's assistant manager at Manchester United, has made no secret of his desire to pursue a career in management. The 42-year-old is widely regarded as one of the leading candidates to succeed Van Gaal at Old Trafford when the Dutchman's contract expires at the end of the 2016-17 campaign.

But Swansea are determined to investigate every possible option, and the Welsh club are understood to be ready to speak to Giggs about replacing Monk in the event that the former Wales international is prepared to consider leaving United to begin his managerial career.

Having seen Brendan Rodgers reject the opportunity to return to South Wales to take charge of the club he left in 2012 in order to manage Liverpool, Swansea are considering a wide range of candidates to succeed Monk.

The club's chairman, Huw Jenkins, is open-minded about potential appointments, but luring Giggs to Swansea would be regarded as a major coup and would also fit the Jenkins blueprint of hiring emerging coaches who favour attacking football.

Cardiff-born Giggs, who won 63 caps for Wales, moved into coaching as player-coach under David Moyes following Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement as manager in May 2013.

Following Moyes' dismissal in April 2014, Giggs took charge of United as caretaker manager for four games before being appointed as assistant to Van Gaal, with the expectation that he would be groomed to take charge on a permanent basis at the end of the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager's reign.

However, with Van Gaal entering the final 18 months of his United contract, there remains uncertainty over the club's intentions, with former Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti admitting this week that he would be keen to take charge at Old Trafford following Van Gaal's departure.

With his former United team-mate Gary Neville now moving into management with Valencia, who lost to Lyon in his first game in charge in the Champions League on Wednesday night, Giggs' lack of management experience could ultimately see him miss out on the top job at Old Trafford - a realisation which Swansea could look to exploit if Giggs fails to receive assurances from the United hierarchy that he is regarded as a serious contender to manage the club.

Swansea - who yesterday confirmed the departures of Monk's coaches Pep Clotet, James Beattie and Kristian O'Leary - are unlikely to make an appointment before tomorrow's Premier League fixture against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Wales manager Chris Coleman has joined Rodgers in ruling himself out of the running. Avram Grant, the former Chelsea and West Ham manager, is the latest possible candidate to emerge, but Jenkins is believed to be keen to recruit a rising young coach.

Persuading Giggs to leave United would be a challenge, but the prospect of a move into management in the Premier League with a club regarded as being a well-run, forward-thinking operation could yet pave the way for Swansea to be successful.

Meanwhile, United have identified John Stones as their priority summer transfer target, with the club prepared to break the world record fee for a defender in order to sign the Everton and England centre-half.

Chelsea are expected to renew their interest in Stones at the end of the season, but with the faltering champions facing a battle to claim a top-four finish, United believe they will have the edge over the London club in any bidding war.

United broke the world record fee for a defender when paying £29.1m to sign Rio Ferdinand from Leeds in 2002 and there would be little reluctance at the club to pay over the £42m - the current highest figure - which Manchester City paid Porto for Eliaquim Mangala in June 2014.

While Stones will be pursued at the end of the season, United are considering a move next month in order to sign an experienced left-back following the loss of Marcos Rojo with a dislocated shoulder.

With Luke Shaw expected to miss the rest of the season with a broken leg, Rojo's injury =has forced Van Gaal to deploy Daley Blind and teenage defender Cameron Borthwick-Jackson at left-back to plug the gap.

Belfast Telegraph


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