Current Netherlands national team coach Louis van Gaal could be appointed as the new manager of Manchester United as early as Thursday, according to widespread reports in the British media.
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.
"After flying out on Tuesday, Giggs stayed overnight at the Oranje (hotel) before making the short journey to the 62-year-old Holland manager's home," read a report in The Guardian newspaper.
"There, in a discussion lasting around three hours, Giggs and Van Gaal met for the first time, although the two had spoken by telephone last week when the proposed offer to be United's assistant manager was first discussed."
Thursday's edition of The Sun newspaper claimed: "Louis van Gaal and Ryan Giggs are set to be revealed as Manchester United's new dream team today."
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 next month's World Cup in Brazil.
His commitments mean that he would not be able to join up with United until after the tournament, which would not be until mid-July if the team reached the latter stages.
If appointed, he will become the first manager from outside the British Isles to take charge of United.
Van Gaal admitted his interest in the United job in an interview with the BBC published 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, has still to announce whether he attends 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. - AFP