United executive Ed Woodward in trouble for backing van Gaal

Sankha Ghosh / 04 February 2016

Ed Woodward is believed to be questioned about Louis van Gaal’s situation as Manchester United manager at Old Trafford in the coming week.

The United executive vice-chairman will face the investors in a conference call next Thursday to discuss about the release of the club’s second quarter accounts for this season.

Louis van Gaal has been under immense pressure because of the poor results and performances at Old Trafford with United already ousted from the Champions League in December.

The Red Devils currently sit fifth in the Premier League, and also outside the Champions League places, despite the impressive 3-0 home victory over Stoke on Tuesday night.

Woodward has till now managed to resist increasing calls for the 64-year-old tactician’s head but the pressure has increased recently with Pep Guardiola joining arch rivals Manchester City in the summer. Not only that, Woodward will now have to answer on the financial impact of Manchester United surprisingly missing out on qualification for Europe’s premier competition for the second time in three seasons.

Meanwhile, Woodward is believed to have full backing for van Gaal to remain in charge at United until the end of the season, when the 64-year-old Dutch tactician will almost certainly announce his early retirement. It remains to be seen whether he still has the guts to continue to fight under severe pressure, with a majority of the supporters clearly desperate for him to go now.

Even if the club hierarchy decide to release van Gaal from his duty as early as possible, there is some problem; the figures involved with the Dutch manager’s contract would force even the most cunning businessman to think twice.

Van Gaal’s contract has a hefty pay-off value, with the 64-year-old can collect another £10 million over the course of the remaining 17 months of his £7m-per-year contract. As it happens in most of the football contracts, an early termination by any club wouldn’t release them from the financial commitment and so it remains a huge consideration in the decision-making process. Not only that, you can include the severance packages which would be due to the United manager’s five-man backroom staff, and if they decide to dismiss van Gaal it would become a costly exercise for sure.

Woodward is not likely to continue his backing for the 64-year-old manager without having the much needed support of the Glazer family, so for the time being, it seems the owners also have faith in their manager.

Having sanctioned almost £300million for transfer spending since 2013 and appointed David Moyes and van Gaal as managers, Woodward also has a great interest in seeing long-term success.


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