United: Van Gaal's not a done deal
Manchester United are yet to decide who should replace David Moyes despite reports Louis van Gaal has agreed a deal to take charge of the club.
A report in Dutch paper De Telegraaf on Saturday claimed Holland coach Van Gaal had agreed to sign a three-year deal at Old Trafford following a meeting with United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in Portugal.
It added that the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach, who will leave his post as Holland coach after this summer's World Cup, would be free to choose his own backroom staff, claiming he would likely take Patrick Kluivert as his number two.
But United, who have put Ryan Giggs in charge until the end of the season, denied the reports, with a spokesman saying: "There is nothing to report. We have not signed a new manager. When we have something to report, we will announce it."
Club sources said there were still "a number of names in the hat" - suggesting the hunt for Moyes' successor could take some time yet.
Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have ruled themselves out of the running publicly. Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has done so too, but he was never thought to be under consideration. Other potential contenders include Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone and Juventus' Antonio Conte.
It is easy to see why Van Gaal would be an attractive option. The 62-year-old has won titles in Holland, Germany and Spain. He has also made it clear that he wants to move to England after the World Cup.
He was rumoured to be linked with the Tottenham job, but United would prove to be a far more attractive option for the Dutchman.
The fact that Van Gaal would not be able to take over at United until after the World Cup is not considered a deal-breaker by the club's board.
Woodward, meanwhile, is expected to be at Old Trafford on Saturday evening to watch Giggs take charge of his first United game versus Norwich.
Woodward does not view the 40-year-old Welshman as a potential successor to Moyes, but the United hierarchy do see the midfielder as their potential manager a few years down the line.
The way Giggs conducted himself during the first press conference of his temporary reign is understood to have gone down well with senior figures as the club.
The interim manager spoke of his desire to restore some pride to the club following a disastrous season under Moyes, who left the team in seventh place, some 23 points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Liverpool.
Giggs has received the backing of Sir Alex Ferguson. The Scot, whose retirement teed up the appointment of Moyes - a decision he was a driving force behind - on Friday appeared to put his weight behind Giggs getting the job on a full-time basis.
"I think that he (Giggs) is the one man they should go to really,'' Ferguson said at a charity dinner, according to the Daily Telegraph. "He's got 20-odd years of experience at Manchester United.
"I signed him as a kid at 13 years of age. He's gone through the gamut of emotions at the club - he's experienced all the highs and lows."
Giggs has immediately tried to evoke memories of former eras at Old Trafford, by installing fellow members of the 'Class of 92' - Nicky Butt, Phil Neville and Paul Scholes - on his staff.
"He knows exactly what's needed to be a Manchester United player and I was so pleased he brought Paul Scholes back in, and Nicky Butt of course - two great professionals," Ferguson added.
"They understand the club, they are hard workers, they are straight as a die. So you have got the right combinations there, there's no doubt about that."
Giggs, who has been taking his UEFA Pro Licence exams, wants to prove he has a future in management during his four-match spell as interim coach.
"I've got a chance to show what I can do and what I am capable of as a manager in a short space of time," he said.
Giggs appears open to the idea of talking with the board about taking charge, or at least having some sort of role within the new coach's set-up, in the summer.
"It can happen (young managers getting the job). That's not something I'm thinking about at the moment," Giggs said.
"That's another conversation to be had in three weeks, six weeks or whenever in the future."