Manchester United reportedly offered Vicente del Bosque a momentous contract to take over at Old Trafford before hiring Louis van Gaal, according to the Spanish press.
AS add that Sir Alex Ferguson suggested Del Bosque to take over after David Moyes’ departure – the other two names on his shortlist for Old Trafford were Diego Simeone and Louis van Gaal, who did eventually get the job last week.
Del Bosque is not keen to work abroad and is hugely unlikely to go anywhere after the Spain job.
Such reports are difficult to weigh up now Van Gaal is installed as manager on a three-year contract. The Dutchman emerged as the front-runner for the job right after David Moyes' sacking in April, but even so, United are said to have contacted Del Bosque first.
The Spanish national team manager, who will attempt to win his third consecutive major trophy with La Furia Roja at this summer's World Cup, is also said to have turned down a lucrative offer with Inter Milan almost three years ago.
Rob Dawson of the Manchester Evening News questions the legitimacy of reports surrounding United and suggests the story could be an early attempt at gamesmanship from the Spanish media:
Van Gaal will be unmoved by stories suggesting he may have been second choice at the Theatre of Dreams. Exciting times await for the Dutchman, who has a decent shot of progressing far into the 2014 World Cup with his Netherlands side before taking control of a complete overhaul at United.
The Oranje face an extremely tough group stage in Brazil, where they will take on Spain, Chile and Australia. While many expect Van Gaal's men to blast beyond the Socceroos, matches against world champions Spain and Chile on their own continent ensure the Dutch will need to be playing at their full potential from the off.
Van Gaal and Del Bosque, 62 and 63 respectively, post differing managerial records. The former has won titles with Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AZ Alkmaar across Europe. Aside from an ill-fated spell with Besiktas, Del Bosque has only ever managed Real Madrid and the Spanish national team.
As such, the alleged approach from United seems optimistic, if not unlikely. It was the coach's experience in Turkey that halted his desire to move away from Spain, per Football Espana, via Yahoo! Eurosport.
There's undoubtedly similarities between Van Gaal and Del Bosque; both are hard-nosed, intricate tacticians who don't let their players escape with missteps. This is exactly the type of boss United need after Moyes failed to inspire confidence during his 10 months in charge. Van Gaal is perhaps a more appropriate signing, having proven successful across the continent, and is used to adapting quickly.
It will be interesting to see the Dutchman's response if he's asked about the situation. Van Gaal seems a perfect fit for United and is the type of character to whip the ailing squad into shape. Considering Del Bosque hasn't taken on club duties since being sacked in January 2005, the step across to England may have been as intimidating to the coach as he is to his players.
While it's too early to judge whether the new United manager will turn out to be a success—or at least, given ample time to rebuild a side that plummeted to seventh during the recent Premier League season—Van Gaal's well-rounded resume and experience in a variation of domestic championships ensures he is better suited at taking United forward.
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