It means current coach Ricky Sbragia faces the sack even if Sunderland stay up, with Van Gaal, former coach of Ajax and Barcelona, keen to join the Premier League.
Louis Van Gaal claims Sunderland are trying to bag him as their boss for next season
The deal would be dependent on Sunderland avoiding relegation to the Championship and American owner Ellis Short completing his buy-out of the club in the summer.
Van Gaal will also be considered for the vacant manager's job at Bayern Munich, who sacked Jurgen Klinsmann last week. But Sunderland director Chris Woerts, who was brought to the club from Feyenoord last year by Short, has impressed Van Gaal with the club's vision. Life's full of ups and downs: Sportsmail's guide to the Premier League basement battleSbragia warns ex-boss Keane to keep his nose out of SunderlandALL THE SUNDERLAND FC