Premier League - Is Van Gaal already Manchester United boss?

Is Louis van Gaal is set to succeed David Moyes as Manchester United manager? The Sunday papers investigate, but manage only to make the question murkier than ever.

Premier League - Reports: United agree deal for Van Gaal-Giggs dream team

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Louis van Gaal (Reuters) and Ryan Giggs (PA)

The Sun on Sunday tracked Van Gaal down to his holiday home in Portugal, where the Dutchman denied Saturday's reports in the Dutch media that he had held a meeting with Old Trafford chiefs.

The only thing Van Gaal told the paper was that he was not too old to take charge of the Red Devils:

"Am I young enough for the job?" the 62-year-old responded to the paper, "I think you can see that in my CV."

Undaunted by their failure to secure the scoop they had planned, the newspaper still splashes the Dutch manager across their back page beneath the headline: "Van Gaal: I'm the man for the job."

It's fairly hard to see where they got that from considering the few words that the Dutch national coach presumably blurted out before slamming the door in the Sun reporter's face.

The paper even adds in a few details about the deal that Van Gaal is supposed to have agreed: a four-year contract worth £40m to the former Ajax and Barcelona manager, who is said to want Patrick Kluivert as his number two.

Ryan Giggs, the paper adds, will be kept on the payroll as a player-coach.

Giggs is actually three years older than Kluivert, however, and it seems impossible to believe that the Welshman would be happy so far down the hierarchy following his brief taste of managing United.

Should the £40m deal report be accurate, it sounds as if it would come with all sorts of strings attached. The Sunday Telegraph reports that whoever the new manager of the club is, they will have to win the Premier League or be certain of the sack.

That's a fascinating prospect. Can you imagine Van Gaal - or Carlo Ancelotti, who the Sunday Times insists is still a top contender for the job - winning the FA Cup and Champions League, but then meekly accepting their P45 after losing the top flight crown on goal difference?

Only Real Madrid have been guilty of such excesses when it comes to sackings in the past (they fired Fabio Capello a week after he won La Liga in 2007) but perhaps the United board, having got their first taste of blood, like the feeling of power.

The Sunday Express and Star on Sunday both amusingly claim to have 'exclusives' that Van Gaal has been chosen - an astonishing piece of journalistic chutzpah considering that most of the papers in Europe reported more or less the same story 24 hours earlier.

The Express claims that, "Dutchman sealed the Old Trafford deal following two days of talks in his secluded holiday villa in Portugal's Algarve."

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The Sunday Mirror's Andy Dunn reports that Ryan Giggs has high hopes of landing the job permanently, hopes that were only bolstered by the win over relegation-threatened Norwich. There is only one slight hitch

"There is no point [United CEO Ed] Woodward kidding himself - three more wins and Giggs will present a case for ALREADY being suitable to right the wrongs of David Moyes," writes Dunn.

"There is no point Woodward kidding himself - Giggs wants the job. Now."

"Oh, and Sir Alex Ferguson thinks he’s ready (although the noble knight’s judgement was hardly immaculate last time around). Trouble is, Ed has promised the gig to Louis."

The Mail on Sunday agrees that a promise has been made, saying that van Gaal," believes he has a verbal agreement to take over from David Moyes and is planning to ask Patrick Kluivert and current stand-in manager Ryan Giggs to be his assistants."

Like The Sun, the Mail flew a couple of hacks out to Portugal to track down Van Gaal. Unlike the Sun, they did not even get a polite brush-off when they caught up with him on the golf course at Vale do Lobo, as one of their journalists explains in a hilarious report:

"Van Gaal does not take kindly to people showing up on his doorstep unannounced, although presumably United’s representatives would have been more than welcome. After two days searching for the most coveted manager in English football, I finally find him when a silver 4x4 pulls up on one of the plushest streets in the resort, where properties cost upwards of €2million.

"Van Gaal appears from the rear seats together with his wife, Truus. Wearing a pale pink shirt, smart trousers and oversized sunglasses, he turns to say goodbye to the English couple who have dropped them off and reluctantly shakes my hand.

"The house on the sprawling plot next to Van Gaal’s has been knocked down and a new one is being built. Van Gaal has red cement dust blowing in his face and my introductions are muffled by the noise of a digger.

"Can I have a quick word, Louis? ‘No!’ he scowls. But can we expect to see you in England next season? No response. Do you think you’ll go to United? ‘I’m sorry I can’t talk about it.’

"Why not, Louis? ‘I can’t say anything because everything I say will be interpreted as what they want. The Press are here and it’s not nice because I’m here for holidays and it’s my last week before the World Cup.’

"And with that, Van Gaal disappears behind the iron gates of his property."

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