Manchester United manager latest: Roy Keane in line for assistant job as club seeks 'thread' to past glory

Former midfielder is emerging as the most likely candidate to work under the club's new manager

Manchester United want to retain "a thread" of their own former players to help manage the club, with Roy Keane emerging as a credible name to assist Louis van Gaal, who appears to be the No 1 candidate to replace David Moyes.

The Glazers, who also have the Real Madrid manager, Carlo Ancelotti, in mind, are understood to be ready to undertake a second meeting with Van Gaal in Portugal, possibly later this week, and there appears to be substance to suggestions that the 62-year-old wants Keane to join him, as someone familiar with the terrain who has managerial experience. Van Gaal's appreciation of Keane goes back to 2001, when the midfielder's brilliance helped prevent the Dutchman's Netherlands team from qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.

The United chief executive, Ed Woodward, will not insist that the new manager retains one of the class of '92, despite interim manager Ryan Giggs welcoming Paul Scholes – returning from holiday – to join the coaching staff. But the view from the top of United is that Giggs is not all that far from management material, if he could gain from working alongside the experienced hand the club will turn to next.

Ancelotti, whom Giggs would find a more accommodating mentor, remains a credible target for United. Neither the Italian nor Madrid would be against a change at the end of the season. Ancelotti could still become the first coach in Real Madrid's history to win the treble but he knows that, however well he does, the job will always be short-term, with Zinedine Zidane ready to take over eventually. United would offer far more stability. Real paid €7m (£5.8m) for Ancelotti last summer. They would settle for less from United in part because of president Florentino Perez's famous disregard for whoever his coach is – a habit he broke only for Jose Mourinho – and in part because Ancelotti has at times this season rowed against the tide. He has left out summer signings Isco and Asier Illaramendi and not always played the fantasy football Madrid's astronomical outlay on players demands. At United the expectation post-Moyes would be far more realistic.

Louis Van Gaal and Carlo Ancelotti are the front-runners to succeed David Moyes (Getty;EPA) Louis Van Gaal and Carlo Ancelotti are the front-runners to succeed David Moyes (Getty;EPA)
However, there is plenty of evidence pointing to Van Gaal as United's candidate of choice. United will attempt to prevent the managerial interregnum from damaging their pursuit of early transfer window business by seeking to involve Moyes' successor in transfer decisions before he is hired. The club are aware that Chelsea and Manchester City were able to begin dialogue over transfers with Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini before they joined their respective clubs last summer. There is also a feeling that the new manager will be more decisive than Moyes was last summer. If progress is made on a target, only for a manager to insist he does not want the player, United are willing to rip up plans.


Though 62-year-old Van Gaal's brash approach is understood to be a source of concern to some of United's squad, Van Gaal's strong working relationship with Robin van Persie is potentially significant in easing his entry to the Old Trafford club. Van Persie, who did not take to Moyes, has helped United create a path to Van Gaal, to whom he has become close in the two years they have worked together in the Dutch national set-up. The striker, recuperating from a knee injury in the Netherlands, has attended two domestic games with Van Gaal in the past two weeks and is understood to feel the national team manager's structured approach to work has helped him develop. After his weekly meeting at the Dutch FA on Tuesday morning, Van Gaal left for his holiday home on the Algarve.


The suggestion that Jose Mourinho might be a United candidate remains a persistent one, because the Portuguese, who had a substantial number of backers at United last summer, clearly does not look as happy as he did during his first tenure as manager at Chelsea. The notion is not dismissed out of hand but United view the prospect of appointing an out-of-contract manager – as Van Gaal will be after the World Cup – as far more realistic than securing one who is in contract on a multi-year deal at a rival club.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments