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Football: Man United to wait on Van Gaal

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal will have to wait until next week before being appointed as Manchester United's new manager, British media outlets claimed on Thursday.

LONDON: Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal will have to wait until next week before being appointed as Manchester United's new manager, British media outlets claimed on Thursday.

Newspaper reports earlier in the day had suggested that the Dutchman's appointment was imminent, but the Press Association said that although a "broad agreement" had been reached, "no deal has yet been signed".

United refused to comment on the matter when contacted by AFP, but in a conference call to investors, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said that an announcement would be made "in due course".

Van Gaal, 62, quickly emerged as the favourite to become United's next manager after David Moyes was sacked last month and is reported to have held a meeting with player-coach Ryan Giggs in Holland on Wednesday.

Giggs, who was appointed interim manager following Moyes's dismissal, was pictured in Van Gaal's hometown of Noordwijk and is thought to have been offered the chance to work as his assistant.

The Guardian newspaper reported that Giggs was invited to Van Gaal's home, where the pair held a discussion "lasting around three hours".

Van Gaal would not comment when approached by a reporter from British television station Sky Sports News as he left a book launch in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

The straight-talking Dutchman, who has also previously coached Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich, is currently preparing the Netherlands squad for a friendly game against Ecuador on Saturday.

His contract with Holland means that he would not be able to join up with United until after this year's World Cup in Brazil, which would not be until mid-July if the team reached the latter stages of the tournament.

If appointed, he will become the first manager from outside the British Isles to take charge of United.

Van Gaal admitted his interest in taking up the role in an interview with the BBC last week.

"I would love the job," he said. "I hope that I shall be the one. It's the biggest club in the world and it's a fantastic challenge."

However, he warned: "You (the media) are thinking I'm the man, but the most important thing is whether Manchester United are thinking that."

Giggs, meanwhile, has praised Van Gaal, who led a young Ajax team to glory in the 1995 Champions League and has also won league titles in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany.

"He has a brilliant reputation," said the 40-year-old Welshman.

"He is a successful manager in different countries. Obviously he has taken Holland to the World Cup. He has a fantastic pedigree."

Giggs, United's record appearance-maker, is still to announce whether he intends to prolong his 23-year playing career until next season.

Speaking after coming on to make his 963rd appearance for the club in a 3-1 win at home to Hull City last week, he told reporters: "I've not decided yet. 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."

Former Everton manager Moyes endured a disastrous campaign after succeeding Alex Ferguson last year and was sacked in April.

United went on to finish seventh in the Premier League and failed to qualify for Europe for the first time since 1989.

Despite their on-pitch struggles, United on Thursday announced a record 26 per cent rise in revenue to £115.5 million ($193.5 million, 141.7 million euros) in their latest financial results for the period up to March 31.

The increased revenue was mainly due to rises in income from Premier League broadcasting money and sponsorship deals.

In a statement to investors, Woodward said that "all of our businesses delivered impressive year over year growth".

He added: "This puts us in a healthy financial position to continue to invest in the squad. Everyone at the club is working hard to ensure the team is back challenging for the title and trophies next season."

Woodward said that not playing in next season's Champions League will cost the club "in the mid-£30 million ($50.3 million, 36.8 million euros)" and described United's seventh-place finish as "very disappointing".

He also vowed that United would look to make significant investment during the close-season transfer window in a bid to return to the upper echelons of the English game in 2014-15.

"The club's expectations -- and you will see this reflected in the transfer market and what we have recently done from a managerial perspective -- are absolutely to get back into the Champions League," he said.

"We will be active in the transfer market and deals will be done."

Woodward also announced that Moyes will receive a pay-off of "single-digit millions" following his sacking by the club.

He added that the precise amount of Moyes' pay-off would be revealed in September.

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