Manchester United officials will be hanging their heads in shame when they arrive in their swanky boardroom on Monday morning. Although Louis van Gaal is still officially their manager, the footballing world already knows that the Dutchman has been replaced by Jose Mourinho.
Minutes after the final whistle blew in the FA Cup final, a story was published on the BBC claiming an agreement had been reached with the former Chelsea manager and an official announcement would be made as early as Tuesday.
Indeed, it was even published before Van Gaal had a chance to address the media in his post-match press conference, by which time he had already been told.
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According to the Daily Mail, it was his wife Truus who notified Van Gaal of the story which may have explained why the veteran coach was short and sharp when asking questions about his triumph. Truus was said to have been visibly upset when speaking to his husband about the BBC report.
It is well and truly the biggest gaffe from the Old Trafford hierarchy, who have had to deal with incessant reports of Mourinho's potential arrival with every stage of talks seemingly leaked to the press.
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Manchester United maintain that the leaks have not come from their side and it is widely believed that Mourinho's agent Jorge Mendes – or someone associated with him – has been behind it.
The super agent famously fell out with Van Gaal over the handling of two of his prized assets. Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao both arrived at Old Trafford under Van Gaal's two-year reign and both left a season later with significantly damaged reputations.
Mendes was said to be furious with the way Van Gaal treated the two players – especially Falcao – and leaking Mourinho's arrival signals the completion of a long campaign of revenge from the former nightclub owner.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward maintains a good relationship with Mendes, but has been left embarrassed by the way his club have handled the situation. The situation is made all the more awkward by the fact that his wife has struck up a close friendship with Mrs Van Gaal.
There is a feeling from within the club that this has been handled even worse than the sacking of David Moyes. The Scotsman read about his own departure in the press before Woodward had a chance to speak to him but he was already under the impression that he would be sacked after a poor campaign.
Van Gaal, on the other hand, was left in the dark about his future right up until the final moment. Needless to say, he will leave Manchester on poor terms with the bumbling executive, who will once again have to deal with another damaging PR disaster.
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