Liverpool are reportedly in talks with experienced Dutch coach Louis van Gaal with a view to appointing him as sporting director.
The often volatile coach has been spending the summer at his house near Albufeira in the Algarve, and the Telegraph understands that Ian Ayre, Liverpool’s managing director, flew out to meet him last week.
Van Gaal is used to be in sole charge of a club, but Liverpool are seemingly attempting to lure him into a different role – that of the much derided position in England, ‘director of football’.
The Dutchman has won titles in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany and is keen to test himself in English football, but the structure of the Liverpool ‘project’ will be a key point of discussion.
Whether a manager of Van Gaal’s experience and pedigree would be happy to oversee the work of a young boss such as Roberto Martinez – who remains a leading candidate for the role of coach – is less clear.
At Wigan, Martinez has had a lot of control about the way the club works and he will be reluctant to cede too much influence to a sporting director at Liverpool.
Van Gaal has a reputation for being forthright to the point of arrogance and, when technical director of Ajax in 2004, his demands caused him to fall out with head coach Ronald Koeman. Van Gaal ended up resigning.
In other managerial ‘news’, the Mail on Sunday report that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is deliberately keeping interim manager Roberto Di Matteo and his assistant Eddie Newton in the dark while he attempts to lure Pep Guardiola to the club.
The Sunday Mirror reveal that Di Matteo is poised to take over at Aston Villa with the Chelsea boss believed to be fed up with the lack of clarity and certainty regarding his position at Stamford Bridge.
The inevitable Robin Van Persie gossip centres around the fact that a whole host of clubs – understood to be nearing 10 – are positioning themselves tactfully in anticipation of talks breaking down between the player and Arsenal.
Sunday’s Mirror report that Manchester City are in pole position to sign the prolific striker with a blank cheque from the Etihad Stadium poised to secure the Dutchman’s services.
The other clubs understood to be ready for talks are Manchester United, Juventus, Milan, Anzhi Makhachkala, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Internazionale.
Anzhi are prepared to offer Van Persie a staggering £300,000-a-week, but the Dutchman has no wish to finish his career in Russia and a more than ‘competitive’ salary is on offer at City.
Another player being targeted by Roberto Mancini is Sunderland forward Stephane Sessegnon, with the 27-year-old understood by the Sunday Mirror to be keen on a move to a bigger club.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are set to sign Netherlands international Gregory van der Wiel from Ajax for £8 million, according to the Sunday Times.
Tottenham have had a £14m bid for Internacional striker Leandro Damiao rejected as Harry Redknapp attempts to bring the 22-year-old in to bolster his forward options.
And finally, Arsenal, Spurs and QPR are all poised to hold talks with Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero, according to various papers, after the 37-year-old dropped a big hint in admitting he will never join another Serie A side and that he likes London.
Source : Eurosport