Manchester United’s share price dipped to its lowest level in over three years on Monday after Louis van Gaal’s team slipped further behind their rivals in the hunt for Champions League qualification.
United’s hopes of finishing in the top four took a blow on Sunday when Diego Costa equalised in stoppage time to snatch a point for the Blues against Van Gaal’s men.
United topped the table in November but are now six points adrift of the top four with 13 matches left.
The possibility of failing to qualify for the Champions League has clearly concerned investors.
United’s share price dropped from US dollars 14.50 (£10.05) to USD 13.86 (£9.61) on Monday morning.
That figure is the lowest price since December 2012. Not even during the darkest days of David Moyes’ reign had United’s shares been valued so lowly.
United’s share price dropped by 2.6 per cent in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange before rising above the 14 dollar mark again in the afternoon.
Ed Woodward has secured a remarkable string of commercial deals, most notably the world record £750million kit deal with adidas, but United’s performances on the pitch and their league position are of clear concern to those who invest in the club.
Investors will get their chance to grill the United executive vice-chairman during a conference call on Thursday, when the club’s first-quarterly results of 2016 will also be announced.
Van Gaal bristled at suggestions he was about to be replaced by Jose Mourinho following the draw against Chelsea.
He snapped at one reporter in his post-match press conference when asked about reports he was about to lose his job
“You haven’t spoken to Ed Woodward or (owners) the Glazers, so you are inventing this story,” Van Gaal said.
“I don’t have to answer this question and I shall repeat myself every week. Now I have to say that you are getting the sack tomorrow. What is your name? Then I can announce the name also.”
Van Gaal was in the crowd at Old Trafford on Monday night to watch United’s under-21 side hammer Norwich 7-0.
It was a night of mixed emotions for the former Bayern Munich manager. Memphis Depay, whose error allowed Chelsea to equalise on Sunday, responded well to being dropped to the under-21 team for the first time.
The £25million winger set up two goals in the rout at Old Trafford, where captain Wayne Rooney was in attendance among the 1,758 crowd.
Will Keane scored five goals – one of them an impressive chip over Norwich goalkeeper Remi Matthews – but Adnan Januzaj hobbled off with what looked like a hamstring problem and Guillermo Varela also had to be replaced because of an injury.
With Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia and Marcos Rojo all sidelined, the last thing Van Gaal needed was an injury to another full-back and, should Januzaj be ruled out for any of United’s upcoming games, it would be a huge blow to the young Belgian, who returned from a disappointing loan spell at Borussia Dortmund last month.
On the plus side for Van Gaal, Phil Jones made a significant step on his road to recovery from an ankle injury. The England defender played 58 minutes before being substituted for Ro-Shaun Williams. Jones went straight down the tunnel but there was no indication he had suffered a recurrence of the ankle injury that has kept him out of first-team action since January 2.
Andreas Pereira earned and converted a spot-kick in the victory while Timothy Fosu-Mensah also found the net in the win, which puts United one point behind leaders Sunderland in the Under-21 league.