Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has given the strongest hint yet he will be in charge next year, insisting he has been included in "every step" of the club's pre-season plans.
Van Gaal's future at Old Trafford has come under heavy scrutiny this term. While the club still have faint hopes of clinching a top four spot and remain in the FA Cup, uninspiring performances throughout the campaign have worked to undermine his position.
Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho remains heavily linked with taking over at the club should Van Gaal leave, but the Dutchman is already planning for next season, suggesting he has been given the green light to see out the final year of his three year-contract with the 20-time Premier League champions.
United travel to Asia, where they will take on Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City as part of the International Champions Cup, in July and, as was the case with the club's pre-season tour of the United States last summer, Van Gaal appears to have been given free rein over all facets of their pre-season preparations.
"Every step that has been made, I was there," Van Gaal told reporters, United's official website reports. "I have to decide [on the time away] and that is why we are only going for eight days, more or less six days. I have made it deliberately short as we will not be able to train over there due to the humidity.
"It is possible that we could train in the mornings and the evenings, but we will have to see," the boss continued. "It is not ideal preparation, especially after the European Championships, but the players I have will train ten days ahead of the tour so we will be ready for the games, and we will then resume training when we return."
Van Gaal has been repeatedly forced to defend his position as United manager this season, accusing the press of undermining his future at the club during a particularly wretched run of form at the turn of the year.
A further twist has reportedly seen the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager turn down a role with the Dutch FA as their new director of football.
United currently sit a point adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City and can book a place in the FA Cup semi-finals if they can beat West Ham in a replay at Upton Park on Wednesday 13 April.