Cape Town - Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has based the club's finances on a third place finish in the English Premiership.
The Independent report that van Gaal is well aware of what is expected of him this year in terms of league placing.
“Our [forecast] budgets assume a third-placed finish, as is ordinarily the case,” said Woodward.
With the club expecting a £48 million drop in profit for the next financial year, finishing lower than third could have a devastating effect on both club and manager.
While van Gaal has been allowed virtual freedom in the transfer market to date, he will have little to no financial backing in the January transfer window.
“We will continue to monitor in association with Louis his view of the squad and which areas we want to strength and which areas we want to sell.
"The usual three in, three out is par for the course in the numbers in and out each year, typically in the summer.
“I wouldn’t have expectations for January but if there is a willingness from the manager, we will engage with him and if there an opportunity, we will try and take that as we did last year with Juan Mata.” said Woodward.