The Guardian’s Manchester football correspondent, Jamie Jackson, has stated in his latest scribblings that Manchester United haven’t yet sacked Louis van Gaal because of a lack of ideal alternatives.
United are currently 5th in the table on 37 points – their lowest tally after 23 games in the whole of The Premier League era. The walk of shame continues with their lowest goals for average (1.22) since The Premier League began. And Louis van Gaal has the worst win percentage (49.2%) of any United manager in the EPL years.
Yet there appears to be a reluctance on the part of the Manchester United board to dispense with the services of the beleaguered Dutchman.
Jamie Jackson writes:
The lack of an ideal candidate to replace Louis van Gaal as the Manchester United manager is the main reason his offer of resignation on Saturday was pushed away by Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman.
Jackson states that Pep Guardiola would be seen as the perfect fit if available.
But the board still don’t appear keen on Jose Mourinho due, according to the report, to:
..doubt over the Portuguese’s divisive nature that is preventing Woodward calling Jorge Mendes to ask the agent how much Mourinho wants to become United’s No1.
Another other option suggested by Jackson is a Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville combination.
But with neither long on experience and Gary Neville struggling in his first managerial post, in Spain at Valencia, this may well be seen as a gamble too far at a pivotal time for Manchester United.
Rather oddly, Jackson also namechecks Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini as a possible target in the summer. Pellegrini is expected by many to make way for Pep Guardiola at City and Jackson says:
Of other targets for Woodward, across town Manuel Pellegrini will be available in the summer if Guardiola arrives at Manchester City as expected. The Chilean certainly adores the attacking football United demand but could the faithful stomach a man who would be characterised by some as a City reject?
Whatever happens over the next few months it’s safe to surmise that this hasn’t been the smooth succession to Alex Ferguson’s glorious tenure that everyone at United had hoped for.
In reality a period of turbulence was always expected after the great man hung up his tracksuit.
But this is quickly turning into a worst-case scenario for United who are again in danger of missing out on Champions League football next season – they are currently 5 points behind 4th placed Tottenham.
Manchester United do have another chance of reaching The Champions League if they win The Europa League this year but a top four finish would likely be seen as a minimum requirement for any United manager.