Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal failed to bring an acceptable brand of effective attacking football to Old TraffordLINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images

Manchester United have sacked manager Louis van Gaal after two years in charge, the club announced on Monday evening following hours of fervent speculation (23 May). Official confirmation of the Dutchman's departure comes just two days after he guided the Premier League giants to their only major silverware in three seasons and a first FA Cup final triumph since 2004 with a 2-1 extra-time victory over Crystal Palace at Wembley.

A parting statement from van Gaal read: "It has been an honour to manage such a magnificent club as Manchester United FC, and in doing so, I have fulfilled a long-held ambition."

He continued: "I hope that winning the FA Cup will give the club a platform to build upon next season to restore the success that this passionate set of fans desire.

"Having managed in Holland, Spain and Germany, I had always hoped for the opportunity to manage in English football and be part of English culture. Both of these experiences have lived up to expectations and been fantastic.

"I thank my players and wish them well for next season. It has been a pleasure to work with them and it has been particularly rewarding to see so many young players take their chance to break into the first team and excel. I look forward to watching the continued development of these young players next season."

The club added an announcement on van Gaal's replacement will be made soon.

Despite the club's FA Cup success, Van Gaal's exit always appeared imminent after another underwhelming top-flight campaign characterised by a relentlessly tedious style of football that saw United miss out on Champions League qualification courtesy of a fifth-place finish. The Red Devils also failed to advance past the group stage of Europe's elite club competition following a 3-2 defeat at Wolfsburg in December 2015 and were later eliminated from the Europa League courtesy of a two-legged last-16 loss to rivals Liverpool.

Former Barcelona, Ajax, AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich boss Van Gaal was unveiled as the permanent successor to David Moyes in May 2014, shortly before ending a second stint in charge of the Netherlands national team with a third-place finish at the World Cup. Despite retaining club legend and interim manager Giggs as his primary assistant and spending over £250m ($361m) on new players, however, the 64-year-old was unable to prove a more fitting successor to Sir Alex Ferguson.

Although United are yet to make any official announcement regarding a successor, it is widely believed that Jose Mourinho will be appointed within the next few days. The fiery Portuguese has been out of work since being dismissed by Chelsea six months ago following their rapid descent from champions to potential relegation battlers and has long been thought to covet the top job at Old Trafford.

A statement from United's executive vice chairman Ed Woodward added: "I would like to thank Louis and his staff for their excellent work in the past two years culminating in winning a record-equalling 12th FA Cup for the club (and securing him a title in four different countries). He has behaved with great professionalism and dignity throughout his time here. He leaves us with a legacy of having given several young players the confidence to show their ability on the highest stage. Everyone at the club wishes him all the best in the future."