Louis van Gaal set to stay after Man United admit manager vetoed move for Renato Sanches
Louis van Gaal vetoed a move for Renato Sanches in favour of pursuing other transfer targets in the clearest indication yet that he could stay on as Manchester United manager beyond the summer.
Sanches joined Bayern Munich from Benfica on Tuesday in a deal worth an initial £27.6 million but which could rise to £63.1 million depending on the Portugal midfielder’s success with the German giants.
United had scouted Sanches extensively and held advanced talks with Benfica and the 18-year-old’s agent, Jorge Mendes, but senior sources at Old Trafford told Telegraph Sport on Tuesday afternoon that the club had backed away from a deal in February.
It is thought that Van Gaal was unwilling to pursue a deal at that price and that he has other midfield targets that he has asked the club to chase instead.
Some will regard that as an exercise in damage limitation on United’s part and sources close to the Sanches camp have suggested that the Manchester club ended up losing out on the player because they dragged their heels and were undermined by the lack of clarity over Van Gaal’s future.
“The problem with United at the moment is indecision,” one source said. “They don’t do the steps to get what they want. They leave it indefinitely and at some point lose everything.”
But it would be a surprising move by United if they allowed Van Gaal to block a move for Sanches, a leading target for whom they had put in tremendous groundwork, in the knowledge that a few months down the line they would be sacking the Dutchman.
United will guarantee qualification for the Champions League if they win their final two league games, starting against West Ham at Upton Park tonight and concluding with Bournemouth on Sunday. They then play Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final a week on Saturday.
United have an agreement in principle with Jose Mourinho, the former Chelsea manager, but nothing has been signed and unless the club opt to formally press ahead with that it holds little meaning. Van Gaal’s prospects of staying had appeared slim and Mourinho has been confident of taking over at Old Trafford but the Dutchman said recently that he had been working on transfer plans for the summer and has long maintained that his future is a question for the club’s hierarchy.