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Soccer-Van Gaal installed as favourite to replace Moyes

Reuters

April 22 (Reuters) - Netherlands head coach Louis Van Gaal was quickly installed as the bookmakers' favourite to succeed David Moyes as Manchester United manager after the English Premier League club announced the end of the Scot's ill-fated spell in charge on Tuesday.

Van Gaal, who has coached Barcelona, Ajax Amsterdam and Bayern Munich in a distinguished career, has already said he will step down from the national team after the World Cup in July and had been linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur.

But the 62-year-old was priced as short as 7/4 with some British bookmakers to move to Old Trafford after Moyes was shown the door with the defending champions seventh in the table, 23 points behind leaders Liverpool with four games remaining.

United have never appointed a manager from outside Britain or Ireland but Borrusia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp was the widespread second favourite to replace Moyes, who signed a six-year contract when he took over from Alex Ferguson in the close season.

German Klopp, 46, has won admirers for his work in Germany where he led Dortmund to back-to-back Bundesliga titles and took the team to a Champions League final last year only to lose 2-1 to domestic rivals Bayern Munich.

He was priced at 9/2 just ahead of United's 40-year-old midfielder and assistant coach Ryan Giggs, who British media tipped to take over on an interim basis until the end of the season.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, who has led the Spanish side to top of the La Liga table and a Champions League semi-final this season, was fourth favourite alongside Ferguson, who enjoyed 26 trophy-laden years in charge before retirement in May.

Ferguson's former assistant and now Iran boss Carlos Queiroz was priced at 16/1 with ex United players Eric Cantona and David Beckham rated at 250/1 longshots.

The new manager needs to undertake a major rebuilding job at the club, having to replace a large number of ageing players while facing at least a season without Champions League football. (Writing by Patrick Johnston; Editing by John O'Brien)

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