Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United future and his eventual successor has been the hot topic in the Premier League for a number of months, with a host of contradicting reports in Sunday’s papers.
On Saturday, Inter Milan director Bedy Moratti said Jose Mourinho is Old-Trafford bound in the summer, but Ryan Giggs is still in the reckoning to replace Van Gaal according to some outlets.
Sunday Mirror: United to snub Mourinho and gamble on Ryan
Only two days ago the Daily Mirror reported Ed Woodward was set to sack Van Gaal and appoint Mourinho before the end of the season. However, on Sunday, Simon Mullock reports an altogether different story.
“Manchester United still see Ryan Giggs as their next manager,” he writes. “The Old Trafford club are ready to deliver a huge snub to former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho by pressing ahead with a succession plan that will see Giggs take over from Louis van Gaal.
“That process will move forward at the end of the season, with the beleaguered Dutchman seemingly unable to halt a meltdown that has shocked United chiefs. That will be a major blow to Mourinho, who has coveted the United job since he introduced himself to English football by plotting the Reds’ Champions League elimination with Porto 12 years ago.
“But United do not believe the Portuguese will be a good fit to take over a club that requires a major rebuild.”
Mail on Sunday: Van Gaal’s exit is the talk of the dressing room
‘Louis van Gaal’s lame-duck tenure is now the talk of Manchester United’s dressing room, with senior players keen to be given clarification over his future,’ writes Jack Gaughan.
‘One dressing-room source said: “The group are wondering what is next — they’re even asking people around the club what is going to happen.”
‘Van Gaal has the biggest week of his turbulent reign ahead of him, with three huge games in seven days. He will give executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward no choice but to sack him if they suffer more embarrassing defeats before the month is out.
‘Constant noise about the Dutchman’s prospects has unsettled his squad and they have been left wondering how long he will remain in charge. Jose Mourinho has always wanted the job and is ready to answer the call when a firm proposal arises.’
Sunday People: LVG will be axed when top-four finish is no-go
‘Manchester United are ready to follow the same route they used to sack David Moyes – and fire Louis van Gaal once Champions League qualification is impossible,’ writes Steve Bates.
‘And that means under-fire van Gaal could lose to Shrewsbury in the FA Cup fifth round tomorrow and crash out of the Europa League against Danish minnows FC Midjytlland on Thursday and STILL keep his job
‘If United suffer further humiliations against League One Shrewsbury and Midjytlland the 64-year-old Dutchman could resign in shame.
‘Either way, van Gaal knows he’s already a dead man walking after a shocking season of underachievement after spending £250 million in his two season reign at the club.’
The Sunday Times: When will it all end?
‘The decision on Van Gaal will be made within the tight circle of Woodward and Joel and Avram Glazer, and the accumulated football wisdom of Ferguson, David Gill and Sir Bobby Charlton, is not likely to hold sway. Woodward’s confidants are not them but the fellow “corporates” to whom he has given key football responsibilities at United: Richard Arnold, Jamie Reigle and Matthew Judge,’ writes Jonathan Northcroft.
‘Mourinho is not the only candidate. Diego Simeone has been explored, Pochettino is admired and the name of Laurent Blanc (despite extending his Paris Saint-Germain contract) is doing the rounds. The prospect of promoting Giggs is receding but has not been entirely dismissed.
‘Mourinho’s candidacy is the strongest, leaving United at a crossroads. They think of their history. Youth development, wingers, almost reckless attack: hardly Mourinho strong points. And yet there are other big parts of their tradition that cannot be ignored: winning and swagger. Mourinho brings those.
‘”Why are they waiting on Jose? I can only conclude they don’t want him,” a leading agent, with strong United connections, asked.’