Beşiktaş is vying for the services of renowned Dutch coach Louis van Gaal, Turkish media reported over the weekend.
The İstanbul team faces an uphill battle going into the playoffs at the end of regular season after the 1-0 defeat at home against Samsunspor on Sunday. The Black Eagles, as Beşiktaş is commonly called, now trail league-leader Galatasaray by a staggering 20 points. Hence, it is unlikely current Beşiktaş coach Carlos Carvahal will be at the helm next season. Turkish and Dutch media over the weekend wrote that Beşiktaş is reportedly looking to sign van Gaal, one of the most successful coaches in football of the past 20 years, in an effort to become a title contender once more.
Van Gaal rose to fame at Ajax. After joining the team as their coach in 1991, he won three league titles, the 1992 UEFA cup and the 1995 Champions League. Ajax was a losing finalist in 1996. His success earned him a job at FC Barcelona. During the period from 1997-2000, he won two league titles and the Spanish Cup. The trophies, however, did not come easy, as van Gaal was often at odds with various Barcelona players and the Spanish press. Van Gaal could not work his magic with the Dutch national team, either, as the team failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea. After a period in the limelight, he joined provincial team AZ Alkmaar in 2005. The team narrowly lost the title to PSV Eindhoven during the 2006-2007 season, but took the crown eventually; AZ won the title in 2009. The Dutchman went on to coach Bayern München and was instrumental in winning the league title, the German cup and reaching the 2010 Champions League final, which they lost against Inter Milan. When van Gaal failed to achieve similar success last season, the club sacked him.
The Dutch coach is currently on a so-called sabbatical, but if Beşiktaş has its way, he will be their coach next season. However, Slaven Bilic -- coach of the Croatian national team -- is allegedly also a contender to succeed Carvahal.
“Beşiktaş is a big club, but I haven't yet received any offer. When I do, I will seriously consider it,” Bilic said, according to Turkish football website macadogru.com. Sivasspor coach Riza Calimbay is yet another candidate to fill the likely vacancy at Beşiktaş, the same source reported.