Tuesday 6 December 2016

Tales of Jose Mourinho's imminent arrival at Man United are becoming increasingly outlandish

Published 05/05/2016 | 13:25

Will Jose Mourinho be at Manchester United next season?
Will Jose Mourinho be at Manchester United next season?

Just when you thought the soap opera that is Jose Mourinho’s potential move to Manchester United could not get any more bizarre, the latest reports have taken this story deep into the realms of fantasy.

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After weeks of rumour and counter rumour suggesting Mourinho was “on the brink” of replacing Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford, the latest newspaper stories claim the former Chelsea boss has been asked to wait another year to assume control at Old Trafford.

Widespread reports claim Mourinho’s advisers have been approached by United about a deal to succeed Van Gaal in the summer of 2017, with United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said to be keen to stick with the current managerial set-up at the club for another year.

The stories also claim that Woodward is “hoping” Mourinho will take up a lucrative offer to manage in the Chinese Super League next season, yet it is hard to imagine a executive in charge at Manchester United would have any interest in the next move of a manager he DOES NOT want to manage his club for another year.

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Equally, Mourinho is unlikely to spend the next year twiddling his thumbs in the hope that someone at Man Utd may give him a job one day. A manager of his status would not need to play any such waiting game.

This latest batch of ”sensational” rumours follow up some truly ridiculous stories that have gone to print in recent weeks, with one clearly misguided report last month claiming Mourinho had signed a deal to take over at United and his appointment would be confirmed before the FA Cup final against Crystal Palace on May 21st.

Can you imagine United sending out a press release in the build-up to an FA Cup final confirming their manager was about to be sacked? It was a story that was as incredible as it was ridiculous and should never have been printed.

Then there was the report that Mourinho had already held talks with United skipper Wayne Rooney over plans his plans at Old Trafford next season, with this idea as ridiculous as any that have been floated in the UK media on this story in recent weeks.

The truth is, Mourinho to Man Utd stories sell well in newspapers and on websites and having exhausted every possible angle, some of the tales that have been dreamed up in the last few weeks have been from the realms of fantasy rather than well sourced and credible updates coming from genuine sources.

Mourinho clearly wants to be the next Manchester United manager and his camp have been happy to leak stories confirming as much throughout 2016, but having failed in a bid to succeed Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford three years ago, the former Chelsea boss has thick enough skin to accept his face may not fit at this club within the current set-up of board members.

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Mourinho stated a few weeks ago that he would only join a club “where he was wanted”, with the rumours coming out of Old Trafford in the last few months suggesting many senior voices have reservations about his candidacy for the role.

United are clearly Mourinho's first choice as he plots a return to the game, but this highly decorated tactician is unlikely to be short of offers in the coming weeks.

A move to Paris Saint-Germain could get Mourinho back into the game this summer, while he may also be a contender to make a return to Real Madrid if Zinedine Zidane fails to lift the Champions League in the final against Atletico Madrid later this month.

Don’t be surprised if Mourinho is in the mix to take over as England manager if Roy Hodgson fails to make his mark at Euro 2016, but that may be a long shot in his list of future employers.

Of course, the Mourinho to Man Utd saga will be back on the agenda if Van Gaal’s side lose to Palace in the FA Cup final, with the disenchantment over the Dutchman’s era at Old Trafford merely on hold as the club’s hierarchy wait to see how this troubled season for their club concludes.

United have made it clear that no deal has been signed for Mourinho to replace Van Gaal this summer and they will only consider the position of their manager at the end of this season.

Maybe, just maybe, the media should take a step back from this story and listen to what Old Trafford officials are saying publicly.

That said, this will not be the last time you read a “world exclusive” story about Mourinho’s links to Manchester United in the next few weeks.

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