Manchester United will reportedly not sack manager Louis van Gaal before UEFA Champions League qualification is mathematically impossible, with the club set to save £10 million on his payout fee if they wait.
That's according to the Sun's Andrew Richardson, who claims the situation is similar to that of former manager David Moyes. The former Everton boss also had a clause in his contract that resulted in a reduced payout when he failed to guide the team to a top-four finish, which is why the Red Devils waited so long to part ways with him.
United currently sit six points out of fourth place in the Premier League standings, per WhoScored.com.
The Red Devils' form has declined tremendously in the last few months, with the club tumbling out of the Premier League top four as a result. The shock 2-1 UEFA Europa League loss at the hands of Danish side FC Midtjylland was yet another setback, but despite those struggles, the Dutchman remains in charge at Old Trafford.
United can qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League or finishing the 2015-16 Premier League campaign in the top four. However, the Dutchman previously stated he would rather focus on the FA Cup, per ESPN FC:
My personal wish is to win the FA Cup. I have already won the UEFA Cup and I want to win a title in England.
That is why I have come to this country, to make Manchester United champions or give them a title [in England], but I understand—for Manchester United it is much more important to win the Europa League because it will give us the Champions League.
It is not only my best route, but ours I think.
Should United sack Van Gaal before the end of the season?
The likes of Jose Mourinho and current assistant Ryan Giggs have been mentioned as possible replacements, and rumours linking the two with the job have only intensified in the last few weeks, per Simon Mullock of the Daily Mirror.
Mourinho in particular seems a strong fit to take over immediately, as the team desperately try to claw their way back into a position to compete in next year's Champions League. The former Chelsea man has tons of experience coaching on the highest level, and his ability to motivate has always been one of his top assets.
Former United defender Rio Ferdinand thinks Van Gaal has had ample time to turn the ship around:
Given LVG loads of time...the team have gone backwards since his arrival. The style of football has no resemblence to @manutd at all.— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) February 20, 2016
But £10 million is a lot of money, even for a club like United, and with qualification for next year's Champions League still in reach, the club's decision not to sack him for now is understandable.
The Red Devils gave Moyes the opportunity to qualify for Europe's top club competition, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise United have taken a similar approach with Van Gaal.