Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is reportedly considering walking away from the club at the end of the season despite his contract running to the end of the 2016-17 campaign.
David Maddock of the Daily Mirror quoted sources in the Netherlands, who claimed the manager’s family “have become increasingly concerned at the heavy toll leading the Old Trafford giants is taking on the 64-year-old.”
It’s noted in the piece that Van Gaal has walked away from previous jobs and that could potentially pave the way for Jose Mourinho to join the club.
“Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has strong links with the club, and it is understood the former Chelsea boss is being kept informed of close friend Van Gaal’s ongoing situation,” wrote Maddock.
The Dutchman was in bullish mood on Sunday, as he insisted after the 1-0 win over archrivals Liverpool that his team could still win the Premier League title despite some recent struggles, per BBC Sport. United are in fifth position after 22 games, seven points back on league leaders Arsenal.
As we can see here courtesy of Monday Night Football (h/t ESPN FC’s Alex Shaw), when it comes to the big matches, Van Gaal typically gets United performing to a high standard:
From what I said earlier, decent by LVG. pic.twitter.com/AOKZMXYrnd— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) January 18, 2016
But there are still concerns over his managerial style, which has made watching the Red Devils something of a chore at times this term.
Flair football, chances and, subsequently, goals have been tough to come by for much of 2015-16, which is far removed from the kind of football United played when they dominated English football under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Van Gaal’s methodical style could be justified earlier on in the season, when the Old Trafford outfit were in the mix for Premier League glory and still in the Champions League.
But a poor run of results over the festive period left many questioning Van Gaal’s credentials, with the man himself admitting he could walk, per Simon Mullock and Steve Bates of the Sunday Mirror.
Even after beating Liverpool, Bleacher Report’s Rob Blanchette found it difficult to get excited about this United team:
Happy with the win, obvs. But what a vile performance against an average team. One shot on target. The philosophy #MUFC— Rob B. (@_Rob_B) January 17, 2016
Will Van Gaal be United's manager at the start of the 2016-17 season?
Mourinho is an appointment that would divide opinion at Old Trafford should Van Gaal resign at the end of the campaign.
The Portuguese is a proven winner, but for a club that has always prided itself on long-term stability, his abrasive management style doesn’t seem like an ideal fit. His style of football does not adhere to the traditional United values either.
There have been times this term when Van Gaal has looked a little jaded by the unrelenting nature of modern football and if things have become a little too overwhelming for him, there’d be no shame in taking a step back. After all, having enjoyed great success with Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Ajax in the past, the Dutchman has little to prove.