Last week, it was all but confirmed that Jose Mourinho would be taking over at Manchester United at the end of the season. So long as Louis van Gaal failed to make the top four, he would be sacked and replaced by the Special One.
However, after a disastrous 2-1 defeat against Sunderland on Saturday, the powers that be at Old Trafford are now considering whether or not to bring Mourinho's appointment forward. According to The Sun, he could even be in place to take charge of the Red Devils in their next Premier League game against Arsenal on February 28.
The defeat to Sam Allardyce's struggling Black Cats set alarm bells ringing in the minds of Ed Woodward and co., who must now consider whether or not it would be better to cut ties with the Dutchman now. Originally, it was thought the change could hamper the team's challenge to break into the top four, but it now appears as though they have nothing to lose.
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They sit as far away from fourth-placed Manchester City (six points) as Stoke City, who sit in 11th place. Needless to say, qualification for next season's Champions League, at least via the Premier League, is looking less than likely.
There is a place in next season's elite competition for the Europa League winners and Manchester United will surely throw everything at that competition now. They face Danish minnows Midtjylland this week and are amongst the favourites to win the trophy alongside Napoli, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool.
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But Manchester United are not wholly concerned with winning trophies, just with keeping fans happy. They believe that sacking Van Gaal and replacing him with Mourinho as soon as possible will be more popular than holding off until the summer.
It would also give Mourinho a chance to assess the squad before the summer holidays, meaning he can jump into the transfer window knowing exactly who he wants and who he doesn't. The club are reportedly ready to give the Portuguese upwards of £300m to rebrand the squad.
Van Gaal's precarious position at Old Trafford was made even more so by the news that he has taken a short lease on a new home in Manchester, suggesting he is preparing for the inevitable.
The Sun report that Van Gaal and his wife were forced to move out of their four-bedroom house after 18 months because the landlord requested to move back in. Upon finding a new home, however, the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss agreed to a rolling contract, allowing him to leave at any point in the future. Sounds like he's not planning on staying too long.
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