LONDON (AFP) - Louis van Gaal said Wednesday he wants to be the new manager of Manchester United.
“I would love the job,” the Netherlands boss, speaking at the start of a three-day Dutch World Cup training camp, told the BBC. “I hope that I shall be the one,” added van Gaal, who also said United were the “biggest club in the world”.
The 62-year-old has long been the leading candidate to become the next full-time manager of the struggling English champions since United sacked David Moyes just months after he’d been unveiled as the chosen successor of retired former boss Alex Ferguson.
United, who have failed to qualify for next term’s Champions League, are currently under the caretaker charge of 40-year-old club great Ryan Giggs, still an active player.
Sunday sees United play their final Premier League game of the season, away to Southampton, and there have been several reports in the British press that van Gaal will be announced as their new full-time manager next week. “You (the media) are thinking I’m the man but the most important thing is whether Manchester United are thinking that,” van Gaal said.
And he insisted nothing would distract him from guiding the Netherlands at the World Cup, having failed to qualify for the 2002 tournament in his first attempt at the role.
“I have to focus on my job,” he 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.”
When asked if Giggs would remain on his staff at Old Trafford or whether former Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert would join him in Manchester, van Gaal said: “How can I answer these questions? There is a process (in appointing a manger).”
Giggs himself praised the record of van Gaal, who guided Ajax to the 1995 Champions League crown and has steered clubs in several countries to domestic titles when the Dutchman was mentioned to him as a possible United manager last week.
“He has a brilliant reputation,” Giggs said. “He is a successful manager in different countries. Obviously he has taken Holland to the World Cup. He has a fantastic pedigree.”
Speaking to reporters after United’s 3-1 win at home to Hull on Tuesday, a match where he sent himself on as a 70th-minute substitute, Giggs said he’d still to decide on his Old Trafford future that has seen him make a record 963 appearances for the club in the course of a 23-year career.
“I’ve not decided yet,” he said. “Nothing has changed. I’ll wait until the season has finished and then get a holiday and think about it in the next couple of weeks.”