Louis Van Gaal‘s fate has finally been sealed.
According to multiple reports Manchester United fired Van Gaal and his entire Dutch coaching staff on Monday morning ahead of Jose Mourinho and his agent set to hold talks with United on Tuesday about becoming their new boss.
[ MORE: Van Gaal’s final hurrah ]
Van Gaal’s tenure at Old Trafford is all but over, yet no official word has arrived from the club.
The Dutch manager, 64, was seen driving into their Carrington training ground early on Monday and shortly after lawyer Paul Gilroy, who has helped several top-class managers settle their severance packages with clubs, arrived.
Reuters news agency claimed that an official announcement would come at 8 a.m. ET, the same time the New York Stock Exchange opens. As a company listed on the NYSE, United must inform investors about a significant change in the hierarchy of the club. Van Gaal’s firing will, or course, be seen as such but 8 a.m. ET on Monday came and went without an official word from United.
Van Gaal was seen leaving United’s training ground later on Monday and reports stated he had been negotiating his severance package all day before leaving their training HQ and heading to his holiday home in Portugal.
[ MORE: LVG tells reporters “it’s over” ]
Everything points towards Van Gaal’s time at United being up and, in all fairness, it’s been coming for a while. It has been reported that he has been paid $7.5 million for having his contract terminated a year early, while he also earned $600,000 in a bonus for winning the FA Cup last weekend.
In two seasons he has guided United to fourth and fifth-place finishes in the Premier League, while also winning the FA Cup during the 2015-16 season. That 2-1 victory against Crystal Palace in the final on Saturday seems to have been his final game as manager as LVG remained defiant to the end in a moody and abrasive press conference, with news breaking about Mourinho replacing him just moments after he’d delivered United’s first trophy since the Sir Alex Ferguson era ended in 2013.
Hired in 2014 on a three-year deal, Van Gaal has spent over $375 million in transfer fees alone as he’s tried to turnaround the fortunes of United. The former Ajax, Barcelona, Netherlands and Bayern Munich manager did guide them to a top four finish in his debut season and they subsequently reached the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League but they crashed out in the group stage.
However the 2015-16 season was seen as a huge disappointment for United and despite injuries to key players throughout the campaign LVG couldn’t hide or make excuses for glaring deficiencies in his team. Marquee signing Memphis did not deliver, scoring goals were a huge issue when Wayne Rooney was out and a boring, bland style of play led to fans booing their team and Van Gaal regularly.
Young players such as Marcus Rashford, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Jesse Lingard emerged as regulars but that doesn’t seem to be enough to have saved Van Gaal his job. As soon as United didn’t finish in the top four — the minimum aim for Van Gaal and United each season — the writing appeared to be on the wall for Van Gaal.
According to reports, LVG’s assistant coach Albert Stuivenberg and goalkeeper coach Frans Hoek are also said to have left the club with immediate effect. It is also understood that Ryan Giggs has been offered a position to stay on at United, but it is unsure if the former star player will remain at Old Trafford as part of Mourinho’s coaching staff as Giggs was touted for the top job after Van Gaal left. With Mourinho lurking in the background — cameras have been following him around the streets of west London all day long close to his home — Van Gaal’s former assistant at Barcelona is set to take charge, but will the “serial winner” keep playing United’s youngsters or splash the cash to deliver short-term success?
In this fast moving story the outcome has seemed inevitable for many months. Just like United’s play this season the final stages of this saga are painful, slow and tedious to watch.
Yet, Van Gaal is set to be fired and everyone is grabbing their popcorn to see how he reacts and are then readying themselves for the expected arrival of “The Special One” at Old Trafford.
A new era has almost dawned on the Red Devils and their fans, directors and players will all hope it’s much more successful than Van Gaal’s reign.