For months, there was a general assumption that Manchester United's remarkably soporofic season would end in Louis Van Gaal being sacked. The vultures have been circling Old Trafford for some time, with Jose Mourinho at the head of the pack to swoop in and profit from the rancid and fetid carcass of United's season.
It was reported last month that this process had begun, and United had already signed an agreement with Mourinho to take charge in the summer. Reports in the De Telegraaf newspaper in Holland is reporting that Van Gaal is staying at Old Trafford, confirming that he will see out the third and final year of his contract. This is not necessarily tabloid tattle: as Gabriele Marcotti pointed out on twitter, Van Gaal once wrote a column with that newspaper, meaning the paper is almost certainly well connected with Van Gaal.
Van Gaal used to be a columnist for De Telegraaf. Now, De Telegraaf report he's definitely staying. https://t.co/Hl55NWFwd7
— Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) April 5, 2016
— Oliver Kay (@OliverKay) April 5, 2016
Marcotti invited a Dutch translation, which duly arrived:
This may be true, or it may simply be a case of Van Gaal wishing to project an image to the public to say that he is staying on. The Telegraph reported at the weekend that Van Gall is continuing on assuming he will be at the club next season, as he is meticulously planning the club's pre-season schedule this summer. Here is an excerpt from James Ducker's report:
Van Gaal has been fretting about an eight-day stop in Shanghai and Beijing being too long, and floated the idea on Friday of having his players train at 7am and 9pm to avoid the worst of China’s humidity.
Some will search for clues about Van Gaal’s future in his obsessing over the minutiae of a tour that seems fairly irrelevant in the context of the importance of United’s next eight Premier League games, starting against Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday. Others will view it, more logically, as another example of the Dutchman’s controlling nature.
United may yet salvage a miserable season: they are still in the FA Cup and are hot on the tails of Manchester City in fourth place. Van Gaal has looked on the brink so often at United this season and managed to claw it back. Is he about to pull off his greatest escape act yet?
If he does so, United could owe Mourinho a hell of a lot of money, if this report is true. You would assume it is not if the club keep Van Gaal. Surely Ed Woodward is not that far out of his depth?