Manchester United will not try to bring Pep Guardiola to Old Trafford when his contract at Bayern Munich expires in the summer, it has been claimed. Citing sources at the club, the Guardian newspaper said United were put off from a move for the highly-coveted Catalan coach, due to the timing of his availability and the strong backing current manager Louis van Gaal enjoys.
Senior figures at Old Trafford understand that Guardiola will not renew his contract at Bayern and are aware that he is eager to work in English football, leaving Manchester City as his likeliest destination.
Van Gaal, who oversaw United's third successive draw in all competitions against West Ham United on 5 December, has a contract with the club until the summer of 2017. The Dutch coach has come under pressure from fans and former players, with his safety-first approach criticised by the likes of Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand as being too negative.
Meanwhile, a separate report in the BBC claimed United will monitor Gary Neville's performance as Valencia head coach as they piece together a succession plan for when Van Gaal steps down.
Van Gaal's assistant Ryan Giggs is also reported to be in the frame for the Old Trafford hot seat. While Giggs and Neville lack top-level managerial experience, sources said their knowledge of the inner workings of the club were a huge advantage.
Meanwhile, Van Gaal bemoaned United's lack of cutting edge after they were held to a fifth goalless draw in nine games against West Ham.
"We created many chances and you can only do that when you are attacking; we attacked much more than our opponents, who were defending in their square of 40 metres," Van Gaal was quoted as saying by the club's official website. "That's always difficult but we created a lot of chances. Yes, you have to score from those chances and we didn't do that. That is our problem in the latest matches."