Suggestions that under-fire Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal offered to leave his position following the club's disappointing defeat to Southampton have been denied. Both the team and manager were roundly booed after registering just one solitary shot on target at Old Trafford on Saturday (23 January) before eventually falling to their sixth loss of the season courtesy of an 87th-minute header from debutant Charlie Austin.
With United having been strongly criticised for a persistent lack of attacking prowess and a number of seriously underwhelming performances throughout the 2015/16 campaign to date, a report from The Guardian has since suggested that Van Gaal was ready to tender his resignation only for executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to insist that he discuss the situation with his family before returning to the club for new talks on Tuesday (26 January).
Such an account has now been called into question, however, with multiple sources – including the Press Association – now confirming that the club have denied that there was any offer to quit. And although Van Gaal has now returned to Carrington to take first-team training, fresh face-to-face discussions between the two parties may not even be possible just yet as the influential Woodward is reportedly due in London.
Manchester United do not return to Premier League action until the visit of Stoke City on 2 February, with an FA Cup fourth-round trip to Championship promotion-chasers Derby County to come on Friday (29 January). Defeat at the Ipro Stadium to a faltering side who were beaten 4-1 by Burnley in their last outing would surely spell the end of Van Gaal's tenure.
Under his guidance, the club can currently lay claim to their lowest-ever points tally after 23 matches. While predecessor David Moyes was routinely mocked during his short 10-month reign, Van Gaal's win percentage of 49% is the lowest at United in 30 years and his side have failed to score in the first half of any of their last 11 home matches.
Former Chelsea manager and free agent Jose Mourinho is widely seen as an ideal candidate to succeed Van Gaal, although agent Jorge Mendes recently labelled claims that his client had sent a detailed letter to the club offering his services as "absolutely ridiculous and totally absurd".