Jose Mourinho is set to be confirmed as the next manager of Manchester United “in a matter of hours”, according to a slightly implausible report from Sky Sports in Italy.
Sky’s Italian outfit have persistently reported that Mourinho will replace Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford this summer, even though Old Trafford officials have confirmed that they have not made any formal offer to the former Chelsea manager despite months of speculation linking him with the role.
Van Gaal’s future as United manager seems uncertain after his side’s 3-2 defeat at West Ham on Tuesday night put a huge dent in their hopes of securing a top four finish in the Premier League and the Champions League football that is demanded by the Old Trafford hierarchy.
United now need to beat Bournemouth in their final game of the season on Sunday and hope local rivals Manchester City lost at Swansea and allow them to claim the last Champions League spot up for grabs in the Premier League.
Failure to secure Champions League football cost David Moyes his job at United back in 2014 and a similar fate may await Van Gaal, yet the notion that United will confirm their intention to replace Van Gaal with Mourinho in the next few days seems less than credible as the club are preparing for an FA Cup final against Crystal Palace at Wembley on May 21st.
It is impossible to imagine United officially confirming they will sack their manager before that game is played, yet the Sky Italia story claims the decision to replace Van Gaal with Mourinho will be made in the coming days.
“Jose Mourinho will be the next manager of Manchester United,” declared the story on the Sky Italia website. “The Special One, back from his second spell (not successful) with Chelsea, will be the successor to Louis van Gaal on the bench at Old Trafford.
“Mourinho is preparing to sign for his new adventure in the Premier League with the task of re-launching the Red Devils after a difficult season. At the moment, the agreement is not official, but it would seem only a matter of hours.”
Mourinho confirmed he will make his return to the game this summer in comments made on Thursday, but he refused to be drawn on stories linking him with United.
“In July, I will be back,” Mourinho stated. “So we are in May. May to July is nothing. I keep enjoying my life, which I’m doing, keep enjoying my family. But in July I am back.”
Van Gaal has been outspoken in his belief that he will be allowed to see out the third and final year of his contract at United, backing up his confidence by claiming he has played a full role in organising the club’s plans ahead of next season.
Yet Mourinho went some way to pulling down that argument with these comments: “I’m not the Chelsea manager, but I organised the Chelsea pre-season in many aspects because I did that 10 months ago.
“Clubs have their commercial, marketing departments always involved in everything. When a new manager arrives in May, June it’s very difficult to touch in some points, but we know that.”
Mourinho’s links to Manchester United refuse to disperse and we can expect this story to dominate the soccer agenda until clarity on Van Gaal’s position is provided after the FA Cup final later this month.
COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? firstname.lastname@example.org