This is according to an ESPN FC report that claims the idea of sacking Moyes “has been properly raised for the first time” and that failure to overturn a 2-0 aggregate deficit to Champions League opponents Olympiakos “could well bring the pressure to a breaking point.”
In other words, Moyes could conceivably be forced out of Old Trafford by week’s end with van Gaal lined up as his replacement.
The 62-year-old has already been linked to the managerial post at Tottenham Hotspur, as per The Guardian, and in the event United appointed him, they would still have to make interim arrangements for what remains of their disappointing season.
But in van Gaal they would be getting a manager who has made a career out of stabilising the unstable, of regrouping the scattered.
The current Bayern Munich side, for example, was largely crafted by the Dutchman, who was brought in following the disastrous tenure of Jurgen Klinsmann. And in circumstances similar to those he’d be facing at United, he replaced an interim manager (Jupp Heynckes) who had been called upon in early spring.
The likes of Arjen Robben, David Alaba and Manuel Neuer were acquired under van Gaal’s watch, and the former Barcelona boss brought youngsters including Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos into his setup as well.
By the time he left the Bavarian giants just 648 days later, he had laid a new, solid foundation at the club while winning a league and cup double for good measure.
Interestingly, it was van Gaal who was thought to be United’s manager-in-waiting when Sir Alex Ferguson first pondered retirement back in 2002. “Man U close in on Van Gaal,” was The Guardian’s headline on January 23 of that year, and van Gaal told the outlet he “knew” he “was first on the list” to succeed the Scot.
Of course, van Gaal would hardly be expected to begin the sort of lengthy reign United enjoyed under both Ferguson and Sir Matt Busby.
That he requires such complete autonomy in his job often means his exits are hardly amiable, and following his 1997 departure from Ajax, he has never spent more than four seasons at any particular club.
Not that this would in any way go against the grain of modern football. Quite the contrary: It would only serve to reinforce the notion that the six-year deal handed Moyes was both naive and the result of a sense of exceptionalism at Old Trafford.
After all, if Premier League rivals Chelsea have proven anything in recent years, it’s that managerial stability has little correlation to winning.
No, van Gaal will not be the long-term answer at Manchester United if appointed. No one person will be. And once gone, the Dutchman will leave the club seeking a candidate to build on his foundation—after which it’ll repeat the process, again and again.
It’s into this brave new world that United are entering—that the struggles of Moyes have bade them enter.