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Van Gaal in 'clear the air talks' with Man Utd stars

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Rooney and Van Gaal still showing a united front
Rooney and Van Gaal still showing a united front

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is believed to have staged clear the air talks with his players this week, as he struggles to cling on to power at Old Trafford.

After another day of wild rumours surrounding Van Gaal's future, he is still in place at United as the club prepares for their St Stephen's Day game against Stoke.

That sceanrio seemed unlikely earlier on Tuesday as rumours swept through the football grapevine suggesting United were about to confirm Van Gaal's departure.

Reports in his native Holland claimed he was considering resigning as United boss, but it is now being suggested that he has held team meetings in recent days in a bid to revive his team's flagging season.

Several UK newspapers are reporting that Van Gaal has staged meetings with his players, with skipper Wayne Rooney leading a call for his team-mates to get back to winning ways over the next few games.

Meanwhile, suggestions that United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was in London for meetings over Van Gaal's future have also been denied. Instead, he is believed to have been involved in negotiations over a new commercial deal.

The final twist in the tale on Tuesday saw the agent of Jose Mourinho deny that he has staged formal talks with United over his client replacing Van Gaal at Old Trafford.

Suggestions that a deal is in place for sacked Chelsea boss Mourinho to take over at United were strongly denied by agent Jorge Mendes, but it still appears that Van Gaal's grip on power is tenuous at best.

He is set to face a uncomfortable press briefing at 3.30pm on Wednesday, with his fate as United manager likely to be a subject of huge debate in the final days of 2015.