Premier League giants Manchester United will be pitted against one of the best teams from Germany, Borussia Dortmund, before clashing swords against arch-rivals Manchester City during their pre-season tour of China this summer. However, will Louis van Gaal still remain the Red Devils' manager at that point? This remains to be seen.
United announced Tuesday that they will be facing Dortmund and City in the International Champions Cup (ICC) during their eight-day tour of Beijing in the summer. According to the Sun, the Red Devils have possibly dropped a big hint that Van Gaal will not be at the helm once the tour gets under way.
The British publication has claimed to have got their hands on a three-page document outlining the Red Devils' pre-season plans and there is no mention of the Dutch manager in the document.
Jose Mourinho's name is currently doing the rounds as the next manager of Manchester United. Reports have claimed that the Portuguese coach has even signed a pre-contract agreement with the club and he will be officially confirmed as the new United manager before the end of the current season.
The current season has not gone down very well for the Red Devils as they still struggle for a top four finish in the Premier League. With eight games to go, United can still achieve that aim, but only if they try to continue their winning run. The Red Devils bagged a morale-boosting win against Manchester City last weekend and that could pave the way for a lot more favourable results.
Winning the EPL for the record 21st time may not be in sights, but they can at least start well next season to get that aim fulfilled.
"Manchester United has strong historical links with China and we are very proud of our relationship and of our fans throughout the country," United vice-chairman Ed Woodward was quoted by Reuters ahead of the club's pre-season tour in summer. "A total of almost 500,000 supporters have attended previous games during our visits to China and we have always enjoyed exceptional support in the country."
United veteran Nemanja Vidic, who retired from club football earlier this year, mentioned that a good start in the pre-season will help the club go a long way in the main season. The centre-back also spoke about the importance of undergoing a tour of China.
"I was in China in 2007 and I have to say the amount of energy we got from the fans there was unbelievable. I look back on that pre-season with great memories before the 2007/08 season because that was one of the most successful seasons in my career at United and my career as a whole," Vidic told MUTV.
"You don't want to lose against City, even when it's a friendly match," he added. "I believe it's good that United will play good teams in pre-season because they can see where they are at. You can get a sense of where you are up to [with fitness] and the players will see how much work they need to do to reach the level of others."
Manchester United play Borussia Dortmund at the Shanghai Stadium July 22, while they take on Manchester City at the Beijing National Stadium July 25.