The Independent's Mark Ogden chats to Off The Ball about Van Gaal's future and a tipping point for the club
As the already rampant pressure begins to turn up a notch around a seemingly downbeat Louis van Gaal after Saturday's defeat to Southampton, Jose Mourinho continues to hover in the background despite the belief that Manchester United are very reluctant to hire him.
Amid that reports of a letter penned by the ex-Chelsea manager to the Old Trafford club did the rounds over the weekend - and have since been denied - with a belief that the two-time Champions League-winning manager is desperate to replace Van Gaal if and when the Dutchman leaves.
"My view is that if Van Gaal can survive the summer which I'd actually doubt, he'll walk away Woodward will say 'fine, you've got us into the summer and showed some kind of stability' and that's when they'll make the change," The Independent's chief football writer Mark Ogden, who told Off The Ball why United chief executive officer Ed Woodward is the key power broker who will decide how the future pans out.
"If you're Man United and you're trying to attract new players in the summer, how do you make your pitch to a Robert Lewandowski or a Gareth Bale? The manager in charge at the moment has said he'll leave at the end of his contract in 2017, so even if he stays, he's only got 12 months. So United need to be able to say 'this is what they're doing, this is the three-year plan, this is the continuity and stability'. They haven't got that. They haven't got a plan or strategy and I think they need to address that as quickly as they can."
While an inexperienced Ryan Giggs is an option that presents a major risk after a few false starts under David Moyes and Van Gaal, Ogden believes it would be "reckless" to turn a keen Mourinho down if he is available, despite their reservations about his management style as he does promise a level of success wherever he goes initially.