Manchester United pull out of Guardiola race as they plan to keep Van Gaal
By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Louis van Gaal has been told by Manchester United his job is safe as the club dismiss the possibility of installing Pep Guardiola as their manager next summer, Football Insider sources understand.
This paves the way for Guardiola to join another Premier League club, with Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea all possibly in the running to entice him from Bayern Munich.
A senior Manchester United source has told Football Insider that the club want Van Gaal to carry on at least until the end of his three-year contract, which has 18 months left to run.
The long-term plan at Old Trafford remains for Van Gaal to continue until the summer of 2017 and then promote his No2 and club legend Ryan Giggs to the manager’s position.
The belief in the United boardroom is that Guardiola will agree to become the manager of their rivals City when his contract with Bayern Munich expires at the end of the season.
Van Gaal has the faith of the Glazer family, who own United, and the board despite the growing discontent among supporters about the team’s style of play.
United were booed off at Old Trafford on Saturday after their Premier League match against West Ham, their fifth goalless draw in nine matches. United’s hopes of progressing to the knockout stages of the Champions League rest on negotiating a tricky game in Wolfsburg on Tuesday.
But the club insist they have no plans to replace the 64-year-old Dutchman who has 18 months of a three-year contract left to run.
Van Gaal’s job is safe unless Premier League results enter a dramatic decline and the club drop out of the top four to place their hopes of a Champions League place out of reach.
The United hierarchy recognise that Van Gaal took United from seventh place to fourth in his first campaign and that he has established the team as a genuine title contender this season.
Despite criticism from a string of ex players about United’s lack of adventure, club chiefs are comfortable with the progress being made.
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United’s reluctance to court Guardiola is intriguing, given that he is not expected to extend his Bayern contract and will almost certainly be available next summer.
As revealed by Football Insider, Arsenal have not given up hope of enticing the Spaniard although the timing would depend upon when Arsene Wenger quits Emirates Stadium.
Chelsea, who made serious moves for Guardiola in the past, could also be in the running if Jose Mourinho is unable to arrest the team’s shock decline.