Look up the words 'well-connected journalist' in the dictionary and you will most likely see a lovely picture of Marcel van der Kraan standing in front of a Manchester United crest.
It is an image that perfectly sums up the De Telegraaf reporter's position. He is not exactly connected to Manchester United as a football club but is believed to have a direct line to current manager Louis van Gaal.
It was, therefore, noteworthy that Van der Kraan published a rather sensational story in the Dutch newspaper today, claiming that Van Gaal has been given reassurances over his future at Old Trafford and has even been handed a €100million transfer kitty for the summer.
That is huge news for Manchester United fans, who had widely expected to see the Dutchman depart after two uninspiring seasons in charge of the club. Jose Mourinho has long been tipped to succeed him and the Portuguese will also be seeking some sort of confirmation following the story.
For now, however, we can enjoy the meltdown that some of the Red Devils faithful have been having since the story was published. Some are desperately trying to discredit the journalist in question, referring to a story he once published on Wesley Snjeider joining moving to Manchester.
Others have also reminded themselves and their tiny Twitter followings that there are still a number of equally credible journalists who insist Mourinho to United is a done deal. And a few are just losing their s***. Whether it is true or not, we suggest you take a look at some of the best tweets below!
Back to real business, Van der Kraan's story does not explicitly say that Van Gaal is staying at Manchester United beyond the current campaign but that is clearly the hidden message. The article reveals that extensive talks have been held with regards to summer transfer targets.
Van Gaal wants to sign Everton's Romelu Lukaku and is ready to throw a significant amount of his budget towards signing the Belgian. If he was leaving, would Ed Woodward waste time putting these plans in place especially as Mourinho would no doubt pull the plug on any move for the striker? Probably not, but Woodward has certainly done stranger things in the last three years.
Like Van der Kraan, British tabloid, The Mirror, has always insisted that Van Gaal is staying and they reported at the weekend that Van Gaal had been involved in pre-season plans with club officials.
That has left Van Gaal convinced that he is staying for the final year of his contract and it is very likely that Van der Kraan's story was written with Van Gaal's blessing. It could, of course, just be a ruse to make United's position harder, forcing them to sack him. But Van Gaal has always insisted that he would resign if he felt he was not doing a good job.
The plot thickens...
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