Louis van Gaal has revealed it is his "ambition" to manage in the Premier League, amidst reports he will replace David Moyes at Manchester United or Tim Sherwood at Tottenham Hotspur.
The Dutch coach, famed for winning titles with Ajax, AZ Alkmaar, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, suggests he has room for one final challenge in a hectic career, reported by Audi Star Talk and via Jack Wilson of the Daily Star:
It is my ambition to become coach of one of the big teams once again, in the Premier League. I have never felt the atmosphere there before. I also want to win the championship in four countries. That is my ambition.
I want to accomplish that. Otherwise I will retire and enjoy life with my wife Truus in our house in Portugal.
Van Gaal ruled out moving back to the Bundesliga and reiterated his desire to win the league in "another big country." Repeatedly linked with United and Spurs during tough moments for Moyes and Sherwood, per The Independent, van Gaal's quotes have the capacity to ramp up further pressure on both managers.
Which team should hire Louis van Gaal?
Moyes faces a day of reckoning as Red Devils boss when his side face Olympiakos on Wednesday. Trailing 2-0 after a hapless first-leg performance, the Scottish manager has 90 minutes to rescue United's Champions League hopes.
Currently placed seventh in the Premier League and out of the FA Cup, failure to overcome the Greek threat will all but end United's season. The club are unlikely to qualify for next season's Champions League and face a more difficult transitional period than many expected with Moyes at the helm.
Spurs' campaign was initially rejuvenated by Sherwood's influence, who led the team to four wins from his opening six games in charge, per WhoScored.com. Despite successfully reinstating Emmanuel Adebayor to the side after Andre Villas-Boas' sacking, Spurs have managed just two wins in their last seven and have seen their bid for fourth place halted by defeats to Chelsea and Arsenal.
Sherwood's side also face the momentous task of overturning a 3-1 Europa League deficit against Benfica when they travel to Portugal on Thursday.
Both clubs are in serious need of a lift, and should either board be tempted to axe their manager, van Gaal's comments could speed the process up.
Jerrad Peters, contributor for the New York Times and Bleacher Report UK amongst many others, suggests appointing the 62-year-old would be a smart move by United:
#MUFC need to realise long-term mgrs a la SAF/Sir Matt impossible in modern football. Start with Van Gaal, then move on to better option.— Jerrad Peters (@jerradpeters) March 18, 2014
Charlie Parrish of The Telegraph believes van Gaal would also be a hit at White Hart Lane, hinting a tug of war could take place if both clubs wish to acquire his services:
Still maintain the idea of Lamela, Eriksen & Townsend in tandem with Ade under a Van Gaal type next season could be incredibly cool. #COYS— Charlie Parrish (@charlieparrish) March 16, 2014
Van Gaal certainly has the winning mentality and tactical nous to turn either side into title contenders. His ambition may also kick United into life, as under Moyes, the team has continued to play reserved, unsure football that stutters with slow passing and an over-reliance on crossing.
There's no denying van Gaal's name is more likely to lure world-class talent to either team. His championship-winning sides have always played attractive football—centred around individual stars such as Clarence Seedorf, Rivaldo and Franck Ribery—while he also managed to turn previous underdogs AZ into winners, something he could replicate at Spurs.
Van Gaal is largely to thank for Bastian Schweinsteiger's transition from winger to defensive midfielder, a switch that improved the German's game massively. United fans may wish to see the Dutch coach spend time with Shinji Kagawa and Juan Mata, two players Moyes consistently plays out of position.
Oddschecker currently lists van Gaal as favourite to replace Moyes at 6-1 with various outlets, while he is rated more likely to take over at Spurs with a price of 6-4.
His appointment would be a dramatic turn of events at either club. United or Spurs have the opportunity to land a proven winner if they so desire, as van Gaal's comments suggest he is just waiting for the phone to ring.
Should either team bite, their fortunes may begin to turn for the better.