Manchester United are facing a race agains time to agree a concrete deal to make Louis van Gaal their new manager and could miss out if no agreement is in place by next Wednesday, according to Dutch journalist Thijs Slegers.
Van Gaal is very much the bookies' favourite to succeed David Moyes at Old Trafford, with some reports in respected Dutch media outlets last week even reporting that a deal was thrashed out by Red Devils executive vice-president Ed Woodward at the Netherlands manager's Algarve holiday home.
Those suggestions have proved to be premature as United take their time to make they find an experienced, proven tactician to lead a search for dramatic improvement next season, although that process could yet stop Van Gaal taking over at the Theatre of Dreams.
United have just seven days left to confirm Van Gaal as their new boss because the ex-Barcelona chief wants to concentrate fully on preparing Holland for this summer's World Cup, with the initial trial stage for finding his final 23-man squad beginning in a training camp starting next Wednesday.
Slegers believes that Van Gaal will not entertain distractions between next week and the internal deadline for squad announcement on May 7th, however powerful the lure of Man United may be.
He told talkSPORT: "Van Gaal's deal with Manchester United is not signed right now but I do expect it to be completed by next Wednesday.
"That’s when the Dutch national team have their first trial stage for the World Cup. I know Van Gaal a little bit and he doesn’t want to talk to Manchester United while he’s working with the national team.”
Woodward is under intense pressure to find both the right man to lead United moving forward and secure top transfer targets as the Red Devils gear up for another massive summer of upheaval, with a repeat of this season's terrible run of results surely unthinkable.