Louis van Gaal is on the brink of leaving Old Trafford as Manchester United hold ‘informal’ talks with Jose Mourinho, according to widespread reports today.
Van Gaal offered to resign in the immediate aftermath of the 1-0 home defeat to Southampton on Saturday, report the Guardian, but was talked out of it by Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman, who asked the Dutchman to discuss things with his family before making a decision.
Van Gaal has not made a final decision and is expected to hold fresh talks with the club today, but it has all the hallmarks of a turning point for the manager, who left the pitch to boos on Saturday and subsequently admitted – for the first time - he had failed the United supporters.
The Guardian also report that Woodward is reluctant to sack Van Gaal – indeed, he wants him to stay – but the manager could leave regardless should United lose to Derby in the FA Cup on Friday.
According to Sky Sports, United did not train on Monday and Woodward took that opportunity to talk to several first-team players about Van Gaal. Defeat to Southampton left United fifth in the table, 10 points behind leaders Leicester City and five behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
Meanwhile, the journalist who reported Jose Mourinho had written a six-page letter to United outlining his case to become manager has stood by his story. Miguel Delaney’s claim was rubbished by Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes, but Delaney said: “Manchester United are well aware that he [Mourinho] wants the job when Van Gaal goes and communications have been ongoing between his representatives for some time so he wouldn’t need to ask for the job.”
The Daily Mail report Mourinho is ‘desperate’ to take the United job while the Star say the former Chelsea manager has already held informal talks with a view to replacing Van Gaal.
Away from Van Gaal’s future, the Daily Mail also reports United scouts watched FC Porto pair Bruno Martins and Ruben Neves at the weekend.
And, according to the Guardian, United sent scouts to France to track Marseille winger Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, who has caught the eye with some fine displays this season.
United, along with Liverpool and West Ham, sent scouts to watch the 20-year-old in action against Lyon on Sunday night. The Guardian claim N’Koudou will not be sold for less than £15m.
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