Louis van Gaal will not see out his third year as Manchester United boss, that much is clear. There is too little faith in him, and too much money to be lost by not replacing him. That is ultimately what will do for him. Add to that the rumoured stress and illness the job is causing him, and you have an easy, superficially dignified way for him to leave without being sacked.
So the question is, who will take over? Ryan Giggs and Alex Ferguson seem like they will provide any temporary solution, but in the summer, it will be between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. Mourinho wants the job, and Ed Woodward would appoint him now if he thought he could get away with it.
Guardiola is going to Manchester City, almost certainly, but it would be daft of United not to see if they could persuade him to join them, instead, and that is what they did last week, according to L'Equipe.
Now, United have come out quickly to deny the story. With a manager already in place, and with the official line being that he is a genius with a three-year contract, they would have to. If they weren't speaking to Guardiola, though, then they would be irresponsibly lax.