Latest reports from England are suggesting that Manchester United will still fire Louis van Gaal this summer – even if he leads them to FA Cup glory, according to the UK Mirror.
They report that winning the FA Cup will not be enough to save Van Gaal, as United are preparing an exit strategy for him and a succession plan involving Jose Mourinho.
The Red Devils’ progress to the semi-finals, and the prospect of their first trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson retired almost three years ago, has not altered the thinking among the Old Trafford hierarchy that a change is now required this summer.
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And the prospect of missing out on Champions League qualification for the second time in three years (with six games to go United are fifth, four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City and with a far inferior goal difference), as well as the fact Van Gaal will be entering the final year of his contract, has strengthened the belief that this close-season is the right time to make that change.
With Pep Guardiola taking over at Manchester City this summer and old rivals such as Chelsea and Liverpool expected to come back strongly after difficult seasons, United cannot risk another season of Van Gaal-led underachievement.
Against that backdrop, they are already preparing for life after the Dutchman — with Mourinho the man entrusted with the task of taking them back to the very top, both domestically and in Europe.
Mourinho, who has been out of work since being sacked by champions Chelsea in December, is ready to succeed Van Gaal and fulfil his long-held ambition of managing United.
Opposition to the Special One’s appointment, from Ferguson and fellow club legend Sir Bobby Charlton, is understood to have eased with senior figures now accepting the need for change if United are to progress.