£5 million: Louis van Gaal’s farewell pay-off from Manchester United?
As severance package was being hammered out, Jose Mourinho was waiting in the wings to step in as the new manager at Old Trafford
Louis van Gaal’s time as manager of Manchester United appeared to be nearing its end, amid reports that agreement on a severance package was all that stood in the way of his exit from Old Trafford.
Both Van Gaal and leading employment lawyer Paul Gilroy were seen entering United’s Carrington training ground on Monday following reports former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was poised to replace the Dutchman.
Gilroy’s clients have included David Moyes, whose sacking as United manager paved the way for Van Gaal’s appointment.
There was no official confirmation from United early Tuesday morning (Hong Kong time), about the position of Van Gaal, who still has a season remaining on his three-year contract.
But James Ducker, the northern football correspondent of Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, tweeted: “Paul Gilroy QC finalising Van Gaal’s severance package now ... £5m (HK$56 million) pay-off.”
The BBC earlier said United would make a statement about Van Gaal at 8pm (Hong Kong time), but that came and went with no development.
British media have been awash with reports of Van Gaal’s demise, after a leak from an unknown source spread as Manchester United lifted the FA Cup, beating Crystal Palace 2-1 at Wembley on Saturday.
The Dutchman cryptically commented, “It’s over” as he left the squad’s Cup final hotel on Sunday, but it was not clear whether he was referring to his tenure or United’s season.
Van Gaal was defiant after the Cup final.
“I show you the cup and I don’t discuss it with my friends of the media, who already sacked me for six months,” the 64-year-old said.
“Which manager can do that, what I have done?”
Despite winning their first trophy since the great Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, Van Gaal’s United didn’t challenge for the Premier League title and failed to qualify for the Champions League.
Fans were also unhappy with the brand of football their team played under Van Gaal.
United scored just 49 league goals this season, their lowest return for 26 years and many supporters felt Van Gaal’s approach ran counter to the club’s traditional attacking style.
Former United midfielder Ray Wilkins said Mourinho was the man to revitalise the club.
“He [Mourinho] is a winner – there is no two ways about it,” said Wilkins, also a former Chelsea assistant manager.
“When he goes to a club, normally he wins a big trophy within the first couple of years.