Will Louis van Gaal stay or go? This is the question on every Manchester United fan’s minds right now.
The vast majority of media coverage suggests that supporters are in agreement that the Dutchman should leave. Not very many are in favour of LVG staying and it’s no big surprise.
United are one of the top teams in the world. They are, or should be, up there with the Bayern Munichs and the Real Madrids – traditional European teams with traditional, perennial records of success.
However, unlike Bayern, Real and Juventus, United are regressing and not winning anything. They have an opportunity to redress the balance somewhat in the FA Cup, but every United fan wants the league and Champions League trophies and nothing else will be deemed acceptable.
In this, Van Gaal has failed.
Before him, David Moyes failed, too, but they do have the toughest act to follow, and let’s be honest, no one will ever emulate the success that Sir Alex Ferguson brought to the red half of Manchester.
Back to LVG, this season has been nothing short of a disaster. The style of football has been inconsistent and generally poor. Players are played out of position, the defence is a mess and having jettisoned some of the playing staff, notably those that score the goals, United have struggled.
Even past greats have been very vocal of late. Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, Peter Schmeichel said: “Manchester United – a club that I love and have followed since I was a kid – have bored me to death this season. We are one of those clubs that has been dragged in completely the wrong direction. All the hard work that Sir Alex put in to recover what was there from Sir Matt Busby has been undone in a very short period of time. I, as a fan, want to be winning but to entertain equally as much too. I want exciting players.”
The feeling is that with LVG’s style of play, the best players won’t want to come to Old Trafford. He puts them off wanting to play on the hallowed turf at Od Trafford and it doesn’t seem to bother him. Much like Wenger at Arsenal, LVG appears to be stoically and belligerently carrying on with his own philosophy because he is right and everyone else is therefore wrong.
The effect on the club can be seen by the dismal failure in the Champions League, and then the Europa League, and a tough campaign in the Premier League, where only Van Gaal thinks that finishing outside of the top four is acceptable.
LVG says expectation among Manchester United fans is “too high” and after the last home game, there were boos aimed at him as he addressed the fans after the full-time whistle to thank them for their “unconditional support.”
Van Gaal said: “They are expecting a lot. But I think these expectations are much too high, and we are a team in transition, and that I have said when I started here. Maybe I have to bring over the message much clearer than I have done.”
The message from the fans is certainly clear, but when you consider the size and stature of the club, the £250m spent and you only finish 5th and are dumped out of Europe, his desire to stay in the Old Trafford hot-seat, may not be his decision.
Jose Mourinho, Laurent Blanc and Mauricio Pochettino have all been named as possible successors. Pochettino was even seen meeting with Sir Alex recently. Don’t let the signing of a new contract fool you either. Money talks and the only person that contract serves is Daniel Levy, should his man be poached.
Many consider the Dutchman’s time is over whether he wins the FA Cup at the weekend or not. Some of the board, notably Ed Woodward, since he appointed LVG, want him to stay. Others want success and want it now and see Mourinho as some sort of necessary evil.
Will LVG leave?
While Van Gaal’s position has been the subject of speculation throughout the season he was very assured when asked if he expected to stay with United.
“Yes,” Van Gaal said. “Because I have signed a three-year contract.”