Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Saturday morning that Van Gaal has agreed a three-year deal to manage the Red Devils after the World Cup.
The report claims that Van Gaal has been in face-to-face talks with United chief Ed Woodward while at his holiday home, and "has signed a multi-year, multi-million contract" - part of which includes a promise that he will have €100 million to spend this summer.
One of the Glazer brothers and a club lawyer were also at Van Gaal's home for the crucial meeting.
United have rejected the reports, but their statement ("There is nothing to report. We have not signed a new manager. When we have something to announce, we will announce it.") is careful only to deny that a deal is already signed, indicating that a Van Gaal agreement could well be in the pipeline but simply not yet finalised - and that increasingly looks like a formality.
William Hill was one of the last big bookies to still be accepting bets on the Dutch national team manager to take over at Old Trafford, but they have now closed their book.
“We shortened Louis van Gaal from 8/13 to 1/6 but we were still seeing multiple bets at this prohibitive price," said company spokesman Rupert Adams.
"Many of the bets were from Europe and we took the decision to suspend the betting."
Not all bookies have followed suit, however, with markets still open with a number of companies and Ryan Giggs second favourite at 10-1.
Van Gaal is currently on holiday in the Algarve before his pre-World Cup training programme begins on May 5, leading many people to speculate that United would move quickly to secure the 62-year-old's services before switching his full focus to the tournament in Brazil.
The Dutch national team's media spokesman added to the speculation, apparently confirming that the wheels are in motion by insisting than an announcement will come "next week at the latest".
But there is one sign that the reports may be premature: Sir Alex Ferguson spoke about Giggs the other day at a function, and suggested that the Welshman "is the one man they should go to."
Van Gaal wants a new job befitting his status as one of the most respected coaches in the world. United want a new manager, and need him to be one of the most respected coaches in the world. It's a match made in heaven, and while a younger man might be a more exciting long-term choice, the United PLC board simply won't countenance the risk of considering anyone unproven at the very highest level.
All the other serious contenders have distanced themselves from the job - and as for Alex Ferguson's comments about Giggs? It makes the Welshman a shoo-in for the job as Van Gaal's number two, with a view to Giggs then taking over in three years' time as the Dutchman heads off at the end of his deal.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
The lawyers will be poring over the contracts already, but expect things to move quickly. United's share price - which took a battering in the Moyes era - recovered nicely on the sacking of the former Everton boss, but financial gurus in the City and Wall St will be desperate to see a heavy-hitter confirmed to take over as quickly as possible - share dealers hate uncertainty almost as much as they loathe failure. A Monday announcement is highly possible, despite United's denial.
WHAT THE MEDIA SAID
Louise Taylor (The Guardian): Significantly, Van Gaal often succeeds best with younger professionals. Some fear this "genius" coach's often less than subtle man-management may be too blunt for sensitive British footballers but the CV of a man who, before joining Bayern, locked himself away in a monastery in order to swiftly learn German, demands instant respect. Any relationship with Wayne Rooney looks potentially turbulent but could keep his compatriot Robin van Persie content.
John Cross (The Mirror): "I'm not sure it's the right choice. The elder statesman, a figurehead and someone looking for one last big pay day. When I cornered him at the Euro 2016 draw in February, he made it clear he wanted a job in the Premier League. I'd go for a younger man, in their 40s, in keeping with the trend of Rodgers, Martinez, Klopp. Ferguson was older and yet, by all accounts, the best delegator in the business. Had the right man, member of staff or assistant for every task. But maybe the way forward and the trend for long term success is go younger not older. Their biggest mistake was not going for Jose Mourinho last summer."
WHAT THE FANS SAY
Aelbert (Eurosport-Yahoo! user): "LvG is not the right manager for Man U. He is too old, too set in his ways, and frankly past his prime. Managers of national teams are almost all at the end of their careers and not up to the challenges of a leading club side. Giggs is not right either. Frankly it's difficult to think of someone good who would be available."
Premx20x (Eurosport mobile app user): "Happy days, Van Gaal to steady ship, sort out a few muppet players and make life easier for Klopp when he comes in two years."
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