One of the biggest stories throughout this Premier League season has been if or when Manchester United would sack manager Louis van Gaal. Van Gaal’s job has come under fire this season thanks to poor results, inconsistent play, and a “philosophy” that has led to a very boring on field product that goes against what United fans believe the club should be playing.
Things have gotten so bad this year that at one point van Gaal’s job was reported to be “saved” thanks to a lively 0-0 draw against Chelsea in December. You read that correctly. His job was saved after a 0-0 draw because at least the team looked better then they had over the previous weeks. Later on in the season when his job was once again on the line, it was saved by 18 year old Marcus Rashford scoring a brace in the Europa League against FC Midtjylland.
Having your job saved by a 0-0 draw and a teenager is hardly enough to build confidence, and as a result the rumors that van Gaal is going to lose his job haven’t gone away.
Despite all the rumors about van Gaal’s job, nothing was ever said by the higher ups at Manchester United. There was hardly a vote of confidence or a statement about the manager being on the hot seat.
Well it’s time for that to change. Manchester United need to make a statement about their manager and who their manager will be next year.
That doesn’t mean they need to change managers, nor does that mean they need to hire Jose Mourinho before announcing a change. If they want van Gaal to be their manager next season that’s fine, just come out and say it. If they don’t, come out and say they’ll be looking for a new manager this summer.
At this point you have to think about what’s best for the club long term, and with rumors about the club looking to spend big in the transfer window once again, you need to know who your manager will be. How else do you expect to sign players if they don’t know who the manager will be?
At this point there are several players out there who might be interested in Manchester United, but are certainly not interested in Louis van Gaal. PSG forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has already come out and said as much and it’s hard to imagine he’s the only one. Letting the world know that van Gaal will not return next season would let those players know that Manchester United is once again an option.
If Manchester United don’t want to let go of Louis van Gaal that’s fine too. However in that case they have to announce their succession plans now. Originally the plan was for van Gaal to be the manager for three years before Ryan Giggs takes over as the manager. Van Gaal plans to see out his contract and as of now has no plans to stay on any longer. Is the plan still for Giggs to take over or has that changed?
Should hold on to van Gaal the announcement of his successor is the most crucial thing they can do this summer. The team will obviously have transfer targets, but how could any player sign on to a new team if they know the manager will be different next season? If Giggs is going to take over the club shouldn’t he have more say over transfer targets then van Gaal since they’ll be his players more than van Gaal’s?
The biggest reason the club needs to make an announcement is simply for the benefit of their own players. Do the players at United want to be here next season if Louis van Gaal is the manager? Vice-captain Michael Carrick wants to stay with the club but still doesn’t have a contract for next season, if he knows who the manager will be he can decide whether he still wants to pursue a new contract or not. Or, if there is a new manager maybe the first move he makes is getting Carrick to sign a new contract.
Of course if the rumors are true and Jose Mourinho really is going to become United’s next manager they owe it their players to let them know now. This will give a chance for promising players like Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Marcus Rashford, Tim Fosu-Mensah, and Jesse Lingard to tell their agents to find them new clubs as they have no future at Old Trafford thanks to Mourinho’s famous disdain for youth.
Whatever their decision is Manchester United need to make it now. The longer they let this carry on, the more uncertainty will surround the club and the more difficult they’ll find this summer’s transfer market.
The name “Manchester United” will no longer be good enough to attract players.