The club could confirm Van Gaal’s departure today with an announcement when the New York stock exchange opens at 1pm British time, paving the way for Mourinho’s appointment this week.
United will pay up the remaining year on the Dutchman’s contract, worth around £6m, then give Mourinho a virtually open cheque book.
Nearly six months after being sacked by Chelsea, Mourinho is keen to start working on pre-season plans straight away.
Ironically, his first signing could be a free transfer – veteran Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose contract at Paris Saint-Germain has expired. They worked together at Inter Milan.