Sunday 22 April 2018

Ed Woodward to be grilled by Manchester United investors on the future of Louis van Gaal

Ed Woodward and Louis van Gaal
Ed Woodward and Louis van Gaal

Mark Ogden

Ed Woodward is expected to face questions over the managerial position at Manchester United on Friday lunchtime when the Old Trafford executive vice-chairman leads a conference call with the club’s investors.

With United now depending on Swansea City defeating Manchester City on Sunday, combined with a victory against Bournemouth at Old Trafford, to secure Champions League qualification via a top four finish in the Premier League, the future of manager Louis van Gaal is likely to dominate the build-up to the club’s appearance in the FA Cup Final against Crystal Palace on May 21.

Woodward has remained a staunch supporter of Van Gaal since the Dutchman’s position was under its most perilous threat following a winless December, but with United now facing up to a second season out of the Champions League in three years, the financial implications of such a failure could prompt questions to be asked over Van Gaal’s future and the availability of former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

David Moyes was dismissed as United manager after just ten months in charge in April 2014 once the club’s failure to qualify for the Champions League was confirmed with a 2-0 defeat at Everton.

And although Van Gaal has been left to make decisions on summer transfer targets – the former Holland coach withdrew interest in Benfica midfielder Renato Sanches prior to his move to Bayern Munich earlier this week – question marks remain over his job security due to ongoing frustration among the club’s supporters over his style of play.

If United miss out on the Champions League this season, and fail to secure a top four finish again in 12 months’ time, the club will trigger a 30 per cent reduction in their annual earnings from their £750m, ten-year kit manufacturing deal with Adidas.

But Woodward is set to reassure shareholders that the impact of such a penalty will be comfortably met by the club, with the annual £22.5m cut being divided over the remaining eight years of the contract, thereby seeing United receive approximately £72m-a-year over the duration of the agreement rather than the current £75m.

Missing out on the Champions League will see United miss out on at least £50m in prize money next season, however, and face a likely reduction in attendances for the group stage of the Europa League.

However, if the team fail to secure Champions League qualification this weekend, savings will be made on player bonuses.

(© Independent News Service)

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