Thursday 22 March 2018

Louis van Gaal was made aware of Mourinho deal three days before FA Cup final win

Jose Mourinho, left, and Louis van Gaal
Jose Mourinho, left, and Louis van Gaal
The much-anticipated move comes after months of secretive negotiations, that intensified in the last few weeks.

Miguel Delaney

Jose Mourinho is expected to be named the new Manchester United manager this week, after verbally agreeing a deal with the club in the last few days.

The much-anticipated move comes after months of secretive negotiations, that intensified in the last few weeks. Louis van Gaal will not now see out the final year of his contract, despite lifting the FA Cup yesterday and ending United's three-year trophy drought, thanks to a 2-1 extra-time win over Crystal Palace. Jesse Lingard scored United's winner, after Chris Smalling's sending off had reduced van Gaal's team to 10 men.

The team's failure to finish in the Champions League places ultimately cost the manager his job, although United had been preparing for a replacement since Christmas.

Read more: Neville: 'I can't see Jose Mourinho staying too long at Man United'

The Sunday Independent has been told by those close to the deal that there was contact between Mourinho's representatives and United within days of his December sacking by Chelsea, and that there had already been extensive talks in early January.

The situation escalated in the last two weeks, with Mourinho and his camp meeting Old Trafford executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward twice in that time.

Read more: Louis van Gaal tells reporter 'it's over' as he exits Man United team hotel

The Portuguese will have final say on transfers - a power that he has only rarely had in his career - as part of a deal that was finally verbally settled on Wednesday. Sources say that is also when Van Gaal was made aware of the situation.

Watch: Jose Mourinho is quizzed by reporter after news breaks of imminent Man United arrival

The Dutch coach remained in bullish humour about his job after yesterday's FA Cup win, despite the breaking news that Mourinho was set to take over.

When questioned on his future, Van Gaal merely responded: "I show you the Cup, and don't discuss it with my friends in the media, who sack me for six months." As the manager kept being asked about his job, the United press officer eventually interrupted to insist on only talking about the final, until Van Gaal again stated: "I don't want to talk about leaving the club."

It's understood that the Mourinho contract has not yet been signed, and that there are still issues to finalise with Van Gaal's departure. However, those connected to deal were privately stating last night that they expect it to be officially confirmed by Wednesday.

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