Louis van Gaal Resignation Rumours Denied as Ed Woodward Eyes Pep Guardiola

Matt Jones@@MattJFootballFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2016

Manchester United's Dutch manager Louis van Gaal leaves the pitch at full-time during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 23, 2016. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / AFP / OLI SCARFF        (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Contrasting reports have surfaced over Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal and whether he offered to resign in the wake of his side's 1-0 loss to Southampton at the weekend.

It was a defeat which many considered to be the Dutchman’s nadir during his time at Old Trafford, with another uninspiring showing yielding no points.

But Simon Stone of BBC Sport writes that despite reports to the contrary, Van Gaal did not tender his resignation after the defeat on Saturday:

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal did not offer to resign at the weekend, despite reports to the contrary. Van Gaal, 64, was said to have told executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward he would be prepared to quit following Saturday's 1-0 defeat by Southampton.

Sources have told BBC Sport no such conversation took place. Van Gaal returned to United's training ground on Tuesday as they begin preparations for Friday's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Derby CountyWoodward, meanwhile, has club commitments in London rather than north-west England.

According to Jamie Jackson of the Guardian, the Southampton defeat was a result that broke the will of Van Gaal, claiming the manager told executive vice-chairman Woodward that he wanted to resign.

“It was the first open revolt against him from inside Old Trafford and, because Van Gaal has often cited fans’ backing as a prime factor in his hunger for the job, it moved him to make the offer to resign to Woodward,” said Jackson. 

It’s a story the Sun also carried on its back page, as we can see here courtesy of Nick Sutton of BBC:

Despite reportedly pushing Van Gaal into taking time over his decision, the Red Devils are also said to be eyeing up the Dutchman’s replacement.

According to Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail, the club have yet to give up on bringing Pep Guardiola to Old Trafford, despite the Bayern Munich boss being strongly linked with a move to Manchester City in the summer. 

United have reportedly not given up on getting Guardiola.
United have reportedly not given up on getting Guardiola.STRINGER/Getty Images

It’s a move James Robson of the Manchester Evening News doesn’t think is likely to happen, though: 

Nevertheless, it’d be a massive surprise if Van Gaal was to begin the 2016-17 term, which would be the last season of his three-year contract, at Old Trafford.

The mood around United is bordering on toxic. During the loss to Southampton, the 11th game in succession the Red Devils have failed to score on home soil before half-time, there was angst in the stands, as the home side moved the ball from side-to-side.

The Southampton loss was another massive disappointment for United.
The Southampton loss was another massive disappointment for United.Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

As we can see here courtesy of Squawka Football, the lack of ingenuity in the final third is something that has been a hallmark of the Red Devils’ campaign:

Van Gaal is beginning to look like a beaten man too. The iconic walk from the tunnel to the dugout at Old Trafford is one beginning to become increasingly difficult for the illustrious coach, with supporters now willing to vent their frustrations in the direction of the Dutchman. It’s reached a point where it seems impossible for the 64-year-old to arrest this slide.

Alex Shaw of ESPN FC feels as though things have become so bad for United that Van Gaal should now be considered a worse appointment than his maligned predecessor:

Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones took a look at how the Red Devils could put things right before the transfer window shuts:

The decision seems to rest with Van Gaal. If United were intent on sacking the Dutchman, it’s an action they would have taken by now, especially as the club went eight games without a win during the festive period.

Woodward seems keen to preserve some stability to the end of the season at least, even if that costs this side a shot at the top four.

Still, if Van Gaal’s heart isn’t in the job, he’d be better off walking away. The team appear to be going nowhere under his stewardship.

Although any new manager coming in immediately would struggle to turn things round this season, some vital preparation could be done ahead of what’ll be an enormous 2016-17 for the club.


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