Manchester United have reportedly sacked manager Louis van Gaal and outspoken former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is widely expected to replace the Dutchman at Old Trafford. United could make an official announcement on Van Gaal’s job status as early as Monday.
Van Gaal reportedly arrived at United’s Carrington training grounds Monday morning with League Manager’s Association lawyer Paul Gilroy, and the pair haven’t left. For several months, rumors had swirled that Van Gaal would not be retained after an underachieving season.
Lead assistant and United legend Ryan Giggs, who many believed was in contention for the top position, also came and went at Carrington grounds on Monday, according to the Manchester Evening News. The club reporteldy offered Giggs a new deal and he’s reportedly weighing whether or not to remain on board for Mourinho’s regime.
Van Gaal, 64, who took over after David Moyes arduous and brief stint, was expected to bring United back to the forefront of Premier League contenders but accumulated just a 54-25-24 record and Saturday’s FA Cup title victory wasn’t enough to erase a largely disappointing two-term run. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager was considered a top replacement after Moyes struggled to maintain the success of former longtime United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
But Van Gaal failed to lift United into Champions League contention as they finished the most recent term fifth on the table and his exit will usher in a third manager since Ferguson stepped away from the pitch in 2013.
Mourinho is expected to be named the Red Devils next manager as early as Wednesday, according to The Telegraph, six months after Chelsea sacked him for losing nine out of their first 16 Premier League matches to start the season.
Mourinho, 53, helped Chelsea win three Premier League titles during his two tenures at Stamford Bridge, and he claimed two Champions League crowns with Porto and Inter Milan. However, his arrival also comes with plenty of contention.
For all his success, Mourinho has waged very public battles with players, rival managers and club higher-ups. His sometimes-strained relationship with the media and his antics during games have made traditional clubs like United somewhat wary. However, it's been of little secret that Mourinho has long coveted the job, which might mean a slight change in how he conducts himself.
Mourinho’s arrival may also mean a major overhaul to United’s roster, including the widely speculated acquisition of striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swedish superstar is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain and could re-team with Mourinho after the pair ruled Serie A at Inter Milan in 2009.
Ibrahimovic, 34, is commanding a £300,000-a-week wage, roughly the same amount he was earning in Paris, according to Telegraph. While attempting to spruce up an attack that netted only 49 goals, Mourinho’s hoping to work the transfer market for a central midfielder.