Louis van Gaal says he is “there for every step that is being made for next season” at Manchester United – and is even setting transfer targets.
Van Gaal’s position at Old Trafford has been the source of much speculation throughout 2016, with reports widely suggesting a deal has already been agreed in principle for Jose Mourinho to replace him after this season.
Van Gaal has continually dismissed the speculation, however, and is now more convinced than ever that he retains the club’s support after winning a battle to limit the length of a pre-season tour of China.
“I am there for every step that is being made for next season and I decided that we would only go to China for eight days,” Van Gaal said in the Sunday Mirror.
“I have been there before and I have also played myself in a tournament in Shanghai and we couldn’t train properly because of the air and the humidity.
“We are going only because of commercial purposes.
“As manager of Manchester United, I know that we have to do that.
“But I have also made it that we are going for no more than eight days. After that, we are back again to train.
“It is not very good preparation because of that, and it is also difficult because we have to think about the European Championship.”
The Sunday Mirror says United ‘remain committed’ to Van Gaal seeing out the final year of his contract and have allowed the Dutchman to plan transfer targets for the summer with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and chief scout Jim Lawlor.
The newspaper lists Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Benfica midfielder Renato Sanches as being wanted by Van Gaal, while the Daily Star Sunday claims Ross Barkley, also of Everton, is a top target for the summer.
On Lukaku, Van Gaal told United’s official website: “He (Lukaku) is very interesting. When you score a lot of goals, you are always a potential candidate for clubs. Football is like that.
“When you look at scoring goals and making assists, he (Lukaku) does that at the highest level in the Premier League.
“But I think every club in the world is comparing strikers.”