Ed Woodward believes Manchester United could sell some of their unwanted players to China this summer.
While much of the focus has been on a possible managerial change at Old Trafford, it is inevitable some of their players will leave the club at the end of the season, too.
Although Van Gaal is not blessed with a deep squad, either he or his replacement will want to bring in new faces this summer, so some of the current crop will have to move on.
Marouane Fellaini, for example, continues to be linked with a move away from the club despite returning to the starting XI for the last seven games, and others could depart.
Woodward is not fazed by the prospect of losing his top stars to the Chinese Super League, where Alex Teixeira, Ramires and Jackson Martinez have moved recently.
But China could be used as a tool to get rid of any deadwood that needs to be discarded.
"I do think there will be more activity coming in the summer, but it is very difficult to predict what kind of impact that will have," United's executive vice-chairman said in a conference call with investors on Thursday.
"If nothing else, it's another useful market if we are looking to sell players."
United may be fifth in the table, some six points adrift of the top four, but off the pitch, the club's achievements in the commercial sector remain unparalleled.
On Thursday, United announced record second quarter figures for the year. United say they are on course to become the first club to earn half a billion pounds in one year.
There were no questions from investors on Van Gaal, or any possible replacement. But Rio Ferdinand had his say on the matter in an interview with Indian TV station NDTV.
The former United defender praised Mourinho's track record, but claimed Van Gaal's assistant Ryan Giggs would be a good candidate if the club wanted to stick to its traditions of attacking football and developing young players.
"Jose Mourinho's name is getting mentioned. If you want someone who's got a career track record in winning in the Premier League and various other countries, then he's that guy," said Ferdinand, who played 455 times for the club during a glittering 12-year spell at Old Trafford.
"But if you want someone who understands the philosophy, whose respectful of the philosophy, who identifies with the fans, knows the place inside out, who's going to be a bigger risk, then Ryan Giggs is that guy."