Will Giggs' stay on as a player or coach after this season at Man United?

Ryan Giggs refuses to commit future to Manchester United

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With the widely-expected arrival of Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford sometime in the next week, interim player-manager Ryan Giggs is refusing to commit his future to Manchester United.

Despite being a fan and neutral favorite to take over for former manager David Moyes on a permanent basis, Giggs is the odd man out as a deal between United and van Gaal seems all but done. The situation has left Giggs with three options: continue playing, manage elsewhere or accept a job under the van Gaal regime.

“I have a lot to think about, whether to carry on playing and my concentration is just on now,” Giggs said.

“At the end of the season, we will see what happens. I have got to decide if I want to play or not so there is no point thinking if I want to be an assistant or if I want to be a manager somewhere else.”

Giggs’ current contract at Old Trafford club expires June 2014 meaning if he aspires to play for the Red Devils next season he’ll have to convince van Gaal of his qualities. There’s no question the Welshman still remains a gifted player but with United expected to undergo a major overhaul this summer, it could be tough to convince the Dutchman of why a roster spot should go to a player north of 40. 

Would Giggs then be inclined to move to another club? It would be an odd site to see him in another shirt after 23 years at United. But if the love and passion to push on as a player remains, such a situation is not unforeseeable.

And what about managing another club? Could Giggs nab himself a top-tier managerial position with little-to-no experience? A job in the Football League feels like a better fit but who’s to say a Premier League side wouldn’t be intrigued by bringing him on? Heck, West Brom hired Pepe Mel after he failed at Real Betis, so anything’s possible.

Regardless of whether Giggs manages elsewhere or stays on as an assistant at United, he will be looking to be the man to succeed van Gaal, a position most project is one to three years away.

For now, however, Giggs is merely concentrating on leading United to their second straight victory under his reign. And by the way, don’t count him out from playing again this season: “I am still training and doing bits and pieces so I am still in the frame for playing the remaining games or being involved in them.”


“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.