It is rumoured that Manchester United target Jose Mourinho has confirmed that he expects to join his next club in July.
The 52-year-old has been heavily linked with taking over from Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford and is said to have an agreement in place ahead of the summer. However, Jose had been contacted by other clubs and one was reportedly Real Madrid.
Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon told Sky Sports News that Mourinho was contacted by the club before they made Zinedine Zidane, Rafa Benitez’s successor at the Bernabeu.
“Apparently Mourinho did not like to come at this time of the season,” he claimed.
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Van Gaal has been having an agonising time with players and the British press over the past months and in reality, the experienced coach will probably not see out his contract. Van Gaal and Mourinho are good friends and know each other from their time at Barcelona. In fact, each had a house in the same road. Unfortunately for United fans and for the manager himself, things haven’t been particularly good for van Gaal.
“I’m very disappointed that I cannot reach the expectations of the fans,” Van Gaal said. “They have – or they had – great expectations of me, and I cannot fulfil them, so I am very frustrated because of that.”
On January 24, a report in the Independent on Sunday claimed Mourinho sent a six-page missive to Manchester United, outlining why he would be the right man to replace van Gaal. Friendship or not – there’s a job at stake and Mourinho wants to be the next United boss.
Mourinho’s agent Mendes released a statement saying the claims were “absolutely ridiculous and totally absurd” and “it does not occur to anyone that a coach like Jose Mourinho can write letters to clubs offering their services.”
On February 1, Manuel Pellegrini announced that he would be leaving Manchester City at the end of the season and the club confirmed Pep Guardiola would be his replacement. Clearly now, if United were going to replace the Dutchman, then they needed an equally big name as their rivals had stolen a march on a potential managerial target.
Not long after the Guardiola announcement, Sky Sports in Italy reporter Alessandro Alciato tweeted: “Mourinho – Manchester United: deal close. The derby with Guardiola of City!”
Further drama occurred when four newspapers reported that Mourinho had ‘told friends’ he was convinced the Manchester United job will be his. A few days down the line and the national newspapers reported that Mourinho was set to land a three-year, £15m-a-season deal to replace van Gaal and that he was keen to bring in Atletico Madrid sporting director Andrea Berta.
In an interview with The Independent, Van Gaal said that he did not believe United had been in contact with Mourinho. “I have spoken with [executive vice-chairman] Ed Woodward and I cannot imagine that he and Jose Mourinho have spoken with each other,” he said.
Apparently the media were making the story up, but still Mourinho wouldn’t go away.
The Sunday Times claimed Old Trafford chiefs had failed to offer Mourinho verbal or written assurances over the job – and that could see the Portugese turn his attention elsewhere.
Mourinho is the favourite to succeed Louis van Gaal if United sack the Dutchman after a disappointing campaign and if he does join United then a host of star faces are to follow. One in particular seems to be all over the back pages this week. Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
It is being claimed that the PSG striker is so certain he’ll be heading to Old Trafford at the end of the season that he is already planning for life in the Premier League.
The former Real Madrid and Chelsea manager is said to have identified the need for a world class centre back, midfielder and striker when he takes over and more besides, as a major overhaul is surely due at Old Trafford.
While confusion remains surrounding Mourinho’s next destination, bookmakers believe it will be Manchester. The 52-year-old’s odds are as short as 13/40 to head to United for his next job. Inter Milan, PSG and a Chinese club are also reportedly in the frame, but United are the expected option.
Mourinho for United? I wouldn’t bet against it. Where there’s smoke, there’s Mourinho.