Manchester United want to engineer a role for Ryan Giggs to persuade him to stay under a new manager, because of the commercial and footballing importance of retaining a link to the club’s past.
Chief executive Ed Woodward is pursuing a list of successors to David Moyes, despite Louis van Gaal’s apparent urgent desire to get the club to commit to him this week. But while Giggs will not be made manager because of United’s wish for experience as the antidote to a 10-month decline under Moyes, Woodward is acutely aware what a loss to the brand values of United Giggs would be. He will want to find a role acceptable to the 40-year-old, though that might be a process of negotiation, because Giggs will not be forced on the next regime.
Further evidence of the positive response to Giggs’s installation as interim manager has come in a declaration from Rio Ferdinand, who has said that he wants to continue his United career next season – despite deciding during the brief Moyes era to leave, with Nemanja Vidic.
Ferdinand said: “I’m going to continue playing. Whether it’s here, I don’t know. But I hope so. When you have been successful, you don’t want to look at a negative perspective or viewpoint, you always look around and think, ‘What can we win? What do we want to win?’ That will be no different next season.”
Woodward is keeping options open on Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone. Ancelotti may feel more open to a move if Real fail to make the Champions League final this week. Pep Guardiola, who wanted a move to England after resigning at Barcelona, may also review his options if Bayern Munich do not progress in Europe tomorrow.
Giggs was non-committal on Saturday on whether he would stay at United if he is not made permanent manager. Asked if he could imagine separation and whether he was desperate to remain involved, Giggs said: “I think that’s another conversation. I don’t know what I’m doing about playing. I don’t know what’s going to happen, so again it’s something that I’ll think about and decide with the appropriate people after the season.”
Evidence of Van Gaal’s keenness to position himself for a job which is far more attractive than it was a year ago emerged in Dutch newspaper reports yesterday that he wants an answer from Old Trafford this week.
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