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Might Manchester United Have to Choose Between Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville

Published by Bleacher Report on Wed, 09 Dec 2015

As far as Louis Van Gaals wife Truus is concerned, she has a pact with the Manchester United manager. After three years, he will walk away from Old Trafford, leaving for our paradise [in Portugal], according to the Dutch coach (per the club's official website). Thats if he actually lasts that long, following Uniteds calamitous exit from the Champions League and continued existential struggle.However, should Van Gaal see out his three years in charge of English footballs most successful club they might face something of a dilemma. United havent yet found a true replacement for Sir Alex Ferguson, but they might have to already anoint their successor for Van Gaaltheir second manager since the legendary Scot hung up his hairdryer.While rivals like Manchester City appear set on seeking a top-tier coach as their next appointment, with Pep Guardiola attracting flirtatious glances, United are tipped to take another direction. That much is illustrated by Ryan Giggs presence on the clubs bench alongside Van Gaal. The former Wales international, by all accounts, is expected to be the next manager of Manchester United.Even Van Gaal admits that. Yes I spend a lot of money on Martialbut I buy him for my successor, Ryan Giggs, he said after the 36 million signing of French youngster Anthony Martial, per James Robson of theManchester Evening News. Giggs has sat and patiently observed the Dutchman, biding his time, waiting for his second shot as gaffer after filling in as interim boss in light of David Moyes dismissal almost two years ago.Now, however, United might have another option. Gary Nevilles appointment as Valencia head coach until the end of the season has opened up a possible scenario in which his former club would have to choose between him and Giggs as the next man to sit in the Old Trafford hot seat.Of course, such a discussion still has a long way to go before it can be considered truly pertinent, but its a discourse that will only gather momentum should Neville showcase his quality as a great footballing mind in La Liga. A top-four finish with Valenciawhich is entirely possible given the quality of their squadwould propel him firmly into the picture as Van Gaals successor.United might have to choose between two of their fabled "Class of 92," maybe even tearing apart that alumni. Some envisage a time when the club is controlled by a group of some of its greatest playersjust as they were in the days following Moyes sackingbut with Neville as manager, Giggs would surely lose patience and start his managerial career elsewhere.It could be the case that with success at Valencia, Neville would in fact move closer to take over from Roy Hodgson as England manager than taking over from Van Gaal. The former right-back is already a significant part of that setup, and he is very much to England what Giggs is to Unitedwaiting patiently on the bench for his turn.But what happens if Neville proves a success in Spain over the next 18 months or so' Would United stick with the plan of appointing Giggsthe clubs next manager in-waiting for quite some timeor leapfrog Neville ahead of the former Welsh winger on the basis of his hypothetical track record' It might be worth the upheaval and distress. It might be worth the potential civil war.Apart from anything else, Giggs could be tainted by the present struggle of Van Gaals tenure. The 42-year-old is very much a central component of the coaching team in place at Old Trafford, so if things continue to turn sour, he might be regarded damaged goods. He could ultimately be seen as part of the problem as much as the antidote.By contrast, Neville could benefit from the distance between himself and United. As a pundit, the former defender has been critical of Van Gaal and his style of play, positioning himself as an alternative optionwhich given the current mood at Old Trafford, would go down well.United are very much a club in transition under Van Gaal, so it could be argued that the decision made with regard to his successor is even more crucial than the one made in light of Fergusons retirement. The wrong appointment could set them back years, and maybe even solidify their general decline over the past few years as permanent.Its for this reason that so many believe United should challenge City for the services of Guardiola, with the Spaniard expected to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season. Carlo Ancelotti is another world-class manager available on the market, and for many, a more suitable replacement for Van Gaalespecially if the Dutchman is fired before the end of the current campaign.The next managerial appointment at Old Trafford will define Ed Woodwards tenure as the clubs vice-chairman. Van Gaal was always hired as something of a recovery stop-gap, so his successor will be viewed as the man truly charged with restoring United to their former glory. Woodward may therefore be somewhat apprehensive about handing such a brief to the largely untried, untested Giggs.He might not feel much better about appointing Neville, eithereven if he proves a success at Valenciabut a collective longing for United to return to their roots after a spell of directionless roaming might be too strong. And Neville might turn out to be the safer option of the two candidates.Recent reports (albeit before Uniteds Champions League exit to Wolfsburg on Tuesday night) claim that the Old Trafford hierarchy are keen to extend Van Gaals contract beyond 2017, but should the Dutchman stick to his word, United must start looking for his successor now. Neville must be as much a part of that thought process as Giggs.
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