Thursday 29 September 2016

Jose Mourinho to Manchester United: Jorge Mendes continues talks with Ed Woodward in London

Simon Peach

Published 24/05/2016 | 18:19

Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho leaves his home in London
Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho leaves his home in London

Jose Mourinho is close to becoming Manchester United's next manager after executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and agent Jorge Mendes held talks in London.

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Louis van Gaal's turbulent two-year Old Trafford reign was brought to an end on Monday, just two days after leading the Red Devils to their first major trophy of the post-Alex Ferguson era.

The divisive Dutchman paid for United's prosaic style and underwhelming substance, with Saturday's FA Cup win unable to mask the poor Premier League performances that saw them miss out on Champions League qualification.

United confirmed they planned to announce Van Gaal's successor "soon" in the Monday statement confirming the widely-expected change in management.

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Ed Woodward

Press Association Sport understands vice-chairman Woodward held talks with Mourinho's agent Mendes on Tuesday, with his appointment appearing a case of when rather than if.

Mourinho's impending arrival has not been universally welcomed, though, as club great Eric Cantona believes Manchester City-bound Pep Guardiola would have been a better fit.

"I love Jose Mourinho, but in terms of the type of football he plays I don't think he is Manchester United," the Frenchman told the Guardian.

"I love his personality, I love the passion he has for the game, his humour. He is very intelligent, he demands 100 per cent of his players. And of course he wins things.

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Jorge Mendes

"But I don't think it's the type of football that the fans of Manchester United will love, even if they win. He can win with Manchester United. But do they expect that type of football, even if they win? I don't think so.

"Guardiola was the one to take," Cantona added. "He is the spiritual son of Johan Cruyff.

"I would have loved to have seen Guardiola in Manchester (United).

"He is the only one to change Manchester. He is in Manchester, but at the wrong one."

Cantona suggested he is open to one day returning to Old Trafford as manager, but it is the future of former team-mate Ryan Giggs that is of serious interest right now.

The position of United's most decorated player is uncertain, with reports suggesting the former winger is considering ending his near 29-year association with the club.

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Ryan Giggs has an offer to stay with United

Press Association Sport understands Giggs has an offer to stay on at United, although it is unclear what that role would be having been assistant to Van Gaal.

Robbie Savage, who came through United's academy with Giggs and later played alongside him for Wales, believes the player with more appearances for the Red Devils than any other has been harshly treated.

"If I was Giggsy now I would look to start my career as a manager somewhere else," Savage said.

"If it's lower down fine, as low down as he wants to manage, but don't forget he's got terrific experience and what he's won as a player is second to none.

"He's been involved in two poor campaigns from two previous managers and maybe he's been tarnished a bit but it wasn't him making those decisions.

"If Giggsy can go out and make his own decisions now, do well somewhere, he can come back and the United job will be his."

No confirmation on the fate of the rest of Van Gaal's backroom team has yet been made, but it has been reported that assistant coaches Albert Stuivenberg and Frans Hoek, as well as performance analyst Max Reckers, have left.

They all remain listed on United's website, though, as do training physiologist Jos van Dijk and assistant coach Marcel Bout, who specialises in opposition scouting.

Press Association

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