Manchester United have already made the first steps towards bringing Louis van Gaal in to replace sacked manager David Moyes, Old Trafford sources have told ESPN FC.
Having confirmed that Ryan Giggs will take temporary charge on Tuesday morning, United are prepared to keep an open mind about their next permanent boss and will investigate other high-profile options, but the Dutchman’s availability and evident willingness have ensured United moved to make contact.
The 62-year-old had been expected to join Tottenham Hotspur as recently as February, and ex-Netherlands star Ruud Gullit later told the BBC he thought it was a “done deal,” but White Hart Lane sources say Van Gaal has become extremely cool on that prospect over the last two months and his position has completely changed -- perhaps because the Dutchman had been informed the United post could become open to him.
That, however, will not stop last season's Premier League champions pursuing other avenues and seeing what progress could be made with potential candidates such as Juergen Klopp. Chief executive Ed Woodward is known to be a huge fan of the German, but Borussia Dortmund have told ESPN FC he will not leave and the manager himself also ruled out an exit. United may still test the waters to see how firm those sentiments are.
Whatever happens, the process will be very different from the appointment of Moyes, with Sir Alex Ferguson’s role greatly reduced after this season's debacle. United's owners, the Glazer family, will assume an increased and more direct influence in a more business-like process, following on from the active interest they took in managerial performance since United’s FA Cup defeat to Swansea City in January.
That was the first time the club’s hierarchy began to contemplate sacking Moyes, with the Glazers previously much more detached as a consequence of the idea the former Everton manager would be a long-term appointment.
According to ESPN FC sources, by Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park, almost everyone of significance at the club had turned against Moyes -- the playing staff, many directors and a number of sponsors. The Glazers also wanted to ensure that the inevitable sacking happened long before the World Cup, in order to allow proper time to plan.
Meanwhile, sources state Moyes is only ever likely to get compensation amounting to one or two years' worth of the six-year contract he signed last summer. One point of negotiation as regards that deal was the failure to qualify for the Champions League, or to reach any other acceptable target.