By Martyn Harman and Keith Weir
DUTCHMAN Louis van Gaal remains favourite to become Manchester United’s new manager but media reports that he would be confirmed on Thursday before the release of the club’s financial results proved unfounded.
The former Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss is preparing to lead the Netherlands at next month’s World Cup and United are anxious to name the successor to the sacked David Moyes before the tournament kicks off in Brazil.
“Everyone at the club is working hard to ensure the team is back challenging for the title and trophies next season,” executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said in a statement.
Van Gaal, 62, has been the leading contender for the role since Moyes was fired in April, 10 months after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson who retired after 26 glittering years at the helm of England’s biggest club.
Reports yesterday said United’s longest-serving player Ryan Giggs, who managed the team for the final four games of the Premier League season, had held talks with Van Gaal about becoming his number two.
United finished the season in seventh place, meaning they will be without European football next season.
Should Van Gaal take charge he will have the task of rebuilding the squad and mounting a title challenge next season.
United reported a 60 per cent increase in quarterly profit yesterday, saying they had the financial muscle to improve the squad.
Woodward added that United had generated record revenue and profit in the three months to the end of March despite the problems on the pitch. “This puts us in a healthy financial position to continue to invest in the squad,” he said.
Revenue in the three months to March rose 26 per cent to £115.5 million and operating profit reached £40 million.
For the year as a whole, the club stuck to its forecast for revenue of between £420 and £430 million and EBITDA (operating profit) of £128 to £133 million.