Louis van Gaal linked with Netherlands after Danny Blind sacking

Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is being linked with a return to the position of Netherlands manager.

On Sunday, Netherlands sacked coach Danny Blind in the wake of their World Cup qualifying loss to Bulgaria. The Oranje are in danger of failing to reach a second successive major international tournament after the defeat left them fourth in Group A, six points adrift of leaders France and three behind second-placed Sweden.

Theo Pouw, of Netherlands fan group Supporters club Oranje, said Van Gaal is the "best coach" currently available to replace Blind.

"Under Van Gaal, we finished third at the [2014] World Cup," Pouw told De Telegraaf.

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, meanwhile, told Telesport in quotes reported by the Daily Mirror: "Van Gaal has obviously a fantastic record with the Holland national team.

"With a lot of guys who are now his. So we know him. I do not know. We must wait and see whether he is open for a return."

Other managers to be linked with the vacant position include Everton's Ronald Koeman, ex-Inter Milan boss Frank de Boer and former Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink.

De Boer's agent Guido Albers said on Monday evening that his client is not interested in taking the job, telling AD Sportwereld: "He wants to be on the field every day. So he's not available. No, Frank de Boer will not be the new coach. It's nothing to do with the risk factor. Frank really wants to work on a club."

It is also being reported that Van Gaal could play a role in assisting the Dutch football association (KNVB) in finding Blind's replacement.

KNVB technical director Jean Paul Decossaux mentioned Van Gaal's name to De Telegraaf on Sunday and added: "We hope to have a new coach in place quickly but it won't be ready in one week.

"A foreign trainer is also an option. Our list of candidates can be made up of whoever is going to take Dutch football forwards. That will undoubtedly include Ronald Koeman although we know he is also under contract with his club."

Interim coach Fred Grim will lead Netherlands for the friendly against Italy in Amsterdam on Tuesday night, but there is no rush to appoint a permanent successor to Blind. On Monday, Decossaux told a news conference that contingency plans were in place as the search began.

Decossaux revealed "all options are options" with regards to the prospect of eventually appointing a foreign coach, something which the KNVB have not done since Austrian Ernst Happel guided the Dutch to the 1978 World Cup final.

"The list should include all kinds of names who can each take Dutch football forward," Decossaux said. "It will not be ready in a week, but we have a good idea of the profile. We have a short-term and we have a long-term aim, so it seems to me that by June would be useful for the appointment to happen."

Netherlands do at least have time on their side, with the next 2018 World Cup qualifier not until the end of the season when Luxembourg visit Rotterdam following friendlies against Morocco and the Ivory Coast.

While qualification hopes are slim, they are not yet completely extinguished, as there are fixtures against France in Paris, Bulgaria at home and then Belarus away before a potential crunch home showdown with the Swedes in October 2017.

Former Dutch international Ruud Gullit believes despite all of the uncertainty, it is still "an honour" to lead the Oranje.

"I think that anyone who gets offered this job would like to take it. It's an honour to be coach of the national team," Gullit told BeIn Sports. "I already was willing to help the national team [before].

"What they're going to do at the moment, nobody knows. There's a lot of names there who is circling around. [Frank] de Boer is also available, having been sacked by Inter so has no club at the moment, of course Louis van Gaal is circling around.

"There are a lot of people putting names in there, my name has been in there as well, let's see what happens."

Gullit, though, believes the current structure at the Dutch FA also needs addressing.

"First of all, on top of the federation, you know, the board and everything, has to be some clarity. At the moment, it is a disaster what happens there," he added. "A lot of people retreated from the job, nobody knows who's responsible so that would also be a beginning."