After what has felt like decades of speculation, the Manchester United manager saga rumbles on.
It had been widely assumed that Louis van Gaal was being relieved of his duties this summer, with reports yesterday from Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano claiming that José Mourinho had already virtually been measuring the drapes in the Carrington manager’s office. Ryan Giggs also being linked to the position should it become available at the end of the season.
However, another twist in the tale has arrived today as contradictory reports have emerged from van Gaal’s homeland.
And most fans of the Old Trafford club are not going to like it.
Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf are today reporting that not only is Louis van Gaal staying at Manchester United for next season, the board have also agreed to give him significant funds to spend on new players.
The report alleges that van Gaal will be given the chance to finish what he has started at the club, or more accurately what he has stumbled on to, by giving young players such as Marcus Rashford and Timothy Fosu-Mensah bigger roles in the first team, as well as allowing more youngsters to progress in the same manner.
The report also backs up earlier stories from last week that van Gaal is giving serious consideration to signing Everton striker Romelu Lukaku – who is set to be one of the most sought-after players in the transfer window despite Everton’s reported asking price of £50million.
Lukaku’s signing would make up the majority of an £80m transfer kitty (before player sales).
The newspaper has close links to van Gaal. which would therefore indicate that the man himself has every confidence that he will still be at the club when Manchester United meet up in pre-season for their tour of China (which he has has already had a massive role in).
Whether that confidence is shared by Ed Woodward and the Manchester United board, however, remains to be seen. David Moyes was just as confident about leading the club into another season right before he lost his job, so bluster means nothing in the face of the call for change.
Just to give the reports that bit more credence, Oliver Kay of the Times corroborated the reliability of the journlaist who broke the story, Marcel van der Kraan:
— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) April 5, 2016
Although this report would appear to have come more from the manager’s side than the club’s, should Manchester United finish in the top 4 and win the FA Cup (also known as “doing an Arsenal”), then it would strengthen van Gaal’s position at the club.
Whether that would actually be enough to save him, however, is a different story altogether.