Saturday 21 April 2018

REVEALED - Why Man Utd are holding fire on sacking Louis van Gaal

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal was pleased to win without playing well
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal was pleased to win without playing well
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United could save up to €6m by keeping manager Louis van Gaal in place until the end of this season, which may explain why the Dutchman has retained his position despite a disastrous season.

As was the case with his predecessor David Moyes, United chiefs inserted a clause in Van Gaal’s contract that stipulates the compensation that will be paid out following his departure from the club before the end of his contract will be greatly reduced if he fails to secure a top four finish and Champions League football.

Moyes was sacked a few days after it was confirmed his woeful first campaign at United would not finish with a top four finish, as his assistant Ryan Giggs took over on a temporary basis until the end of the season.

United only paid Moyes around €4.5m following his sacking in April 2014, even though he still had five years left to run on his lucrative contract and a similar clause is in place in Van Gaal’s contract, with a reduced pay-off due if he fails to deliver Champions League football for next season.

This explains why United chiefs have remained loyal to Van Gaal - in public at least - until now and why his position will only be reviewed at the end of the campaign, with a top four finish a minimum requirement for him to remain in his post.

Van Gaal came under fire once more following Sunday’s 3-0 defeat at White Hart Lane, with the Dutchman’s decision to play winger Ashley Young in a central striking role and leave top attacker Anthony Martial in a wide position baffling many of his vocal critics.

It was the latest entry in a long list of bemusing decisions made by the veteran tactician during his turbulent reign as United manager that saw fans turn against him many months ago, yet Old Trafford chiefs will not bring down the curtain on his time at the club until the outcome of this season has been concluded.

Even if they fail to finish in the top four, the departure of Van Gaal a year before the conclusion of his contract would come at a huge cost to United, with his extended backroom staff also entitled to hefty pay-offs, but that expense appears to be unavoidable after many months of dissent among supporters who have lost faith with a football philosophy that has failed to entertain.

Jose Mourinho’s confirmation on Saturday night that he wants to remain in English football as he plots a return to the game this summer confirmed that he still has his eyes on the Old Trafford post, despite renewed interest in Real Madrid offering the former Chelsea boss a return to the Bernabeu.

Yet Mourinho’s advisers continue to be informed that United will only pass judgement on Van Gaal’s future once this season comes to an end, with the likelihood that they will fail secure a top four finish certain to inspire the club to change their manager.

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport