Louis van Gaal hints at interest in becoming new Tottenham manager

Louis van Gaal has emerged as a surprise contender to take up the vacant managerial position at Tottenham Hotspur after admitting a desire to work in the Premier League, though the current head coach of Holland has made it clear he would be unwilling to take the Spurs job until after the summer’s World Cup as he is unwilling to share club and national duties.

Van Gaal will take the Dutch to Brazil before leaving the post after the tournament to be succeeded by Guus Hiddink, who has already rejected the chance to take over at White Hart Lane. With Frank de Boer and Fabio Capello keen to see out the current campaign with Ajax and Russia respectively, and Mauricio Pochettino unlikely to be prised away from Southampton, that would appear to strengthen the hand of the current caretaker manager, Tim Sherwood, to take the role on an interim basis for the rest of the campaign.

The Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, was not present as Sherwood oversaw the 3-2 victory over Southampton before Van Gaal was interviewed by the Dutch television station, NOS, on Sunday evening. “I’ll never comment on offers,” said the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager. “I’ve always said I want to work in the Premier League eventually, so there’s a chance. There are times a deal is announced and there are times it’s in preparation. At that time there’s no time for media. But everyone who knows me knows I won’t do a job share.”

That unwillingness to share duties with the national team would appear to rule out Van Gaal in the short term, while Sherwood, who would like the role full-time, pushed his own credentials with his first win at St Mary’s. He hopes to speak to Levy before the Boxing Day visit of West Bromwich Albion to ascertain the length of his stint in charge, though the chairman is also expected to sound out Glenn Hoddle, whom he sacked from the job more than 10 years ago, as he considers his options.

Sherwood will definitely be in charge for the visits of West Brom and Stoke City to White Hart Lane after Christmas but will seek clarification on his position from Levy as he aspires for longer-term involvement.

“I will have a chat with the chairman and see what’s best for the football club moving forward,” he said. “I need to know what they’re thinking. I don’t want this job for five minutes. That’s of no interest to me. So are we going to move it forward or not? I need to talk to the chairman and see what he’s got planned.

“There are some great candidates out there for this job. It’s a massive club with history and tradition but whatever happens needs to be right for me, too. Whoever takes this job is in a good position. André has left the club in a good state; there’s nothing wrong with the job he’s done. Hopefully whoever is put in charge can take it on to the next step.”

Sherwood stressed that he had no qualms about working under the director of football, Franco Baldini, whose own position could yet come under scrutiny. “I don’t know any different, do I?” said Sherwood. “He’s not going to interfere, anyway. And I can adapt to anything.” He added that “the last thing we need” were further additions to the squad in next month’s transfer window, an admission that may endear him further to the hierarchy given the panic-inflated nature of the market in January.
The reintegration of Emmanuel Adebayor, one of the club’s highest-paid players, has ensured the interim manager has started on the right foot. The Togo forward’s attitude had been doubted by Villas-Boas, the striker having failed to impress after starting the season late as he coped with the death of his brother, Peter, in the summer. Yet Sherwood has selected him in both of his games to date and been rewarded with three goals.

“I want to thank all my team-mates,” said Adebayor. “They have been there for me, they tell me to keep working hard and my chance will come. He [Sherwood] told me, ‘Emmanuel, I’ve known you for a long time and I need you to get out there and play your football. I will not tell you anything new. You have been around the block, Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid, so you know how to play.’ For me that was big confidence.

“It’s been hard, not only for a few months but in 2010, 2012 … My brother passed away and it was emotionally difficult. He was my senior brother so, for me, it’s for him. He left a son behind. I want to take care of him and his family. I went to the funeral and when I came back I lost my place in the team. I kept doing my job and, as my father told me, ‘Keep working hard.’ Today it paid off and I am very happy.”

Sherwood, who hopes Mousa Dembélé will recover from an ankle injury in time for the Boxing Day fixture, said: “Listen, we all know about Adebayor and we all know he’s a top player. He doesn’t need any motivating to go and play now because he’s not played for a long time. He’s a top player.”


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