Despite winning the FA Cup final on Saturday, United have told Van Gaal that he has been sacked, with an official statement set to confirm that Van Gaal has paid the price for a mixture of missing out on the top four this season and a string of unconvincing performances, dressing room conflicts and transfer failures.
With Mourinho available after his own dismissal by Chelsea last December, United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has finally made the decision to make do with Van Gaal and appoint Mourinho, despite fears over his style of football and the possible impact he could have in the club’ preference at developing its own youth team members.
It all means that United could be entering a new era in the club’s history. Should Ryan Giggs leave as is expected, the ‘Class of 92’ will no longer have any impact on the first team at Old Trafford, with Nicky Butt the sole remaining figure from United’s golden generation as he takes charge of the academy.
The likes of Marcus Rashford and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson could prove to be the last products of United’s famed academy once Mourinho takes over, given he showed a resolute neglect towards Chelsea’s youngsters during his two spells at Stamford Bridge. Both Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne were unable to sufficiently impress Mourinho to break into his side and were subsequently sold, while players such as Josh McEachran and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were criticised for failing to take their chance when presented to them.
For Mourinho, the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ will finally get his hands on the job that he has coveted since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, when the recently dismissed Real Madrid manager missing out on the job to David Moyes.
When Moyes was himself shown the exit towards the end of the 2013/14 season after a disastrous 10 months in charge, Mourinho had already rejoined Chelsea, leaving Van Gaal to take the job once he had finished his duties as head coach of the Netherlands at the 2014 World Cup.
Mourinho will hope that his run of success during his first two years at a new club will continue, having won the league within 24 months at Porto, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and both spells with Chelsea, as well as the Champions League with both Porto and Inter.
However, Mourinho’s gain will be Giggs’ loss, with the current assistant manager expected to depart the club after missing out on the top job for a second time since he retired in 2014. After filling in for Moyes for the final four matches of the 2013/14 campaign, Giggs was deemed not experienced enough to take on the job two years ago, with United instead appointing the Welshman as Van Gaal’s No 2.
Giggs is likely to seek a job in the Premier League, although a leading club in the Championship could offer the 42-year-old the chance to embark on a project and prove his managerial credentials. The prospect of moving abroad is unlikely to appeal to Giggs given the difficulty his former team-mate and business partner Gary Neville encountered in Valencia, and should he prove a success in the managers hot-seat, United could welcome him back with open arms once Mourinho’s time at United come to an end.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies