Belfast Telegraph

Like the club he is about to take over, Jose Mourinho has a reputation to rebuild at Manchester United

By Simon Peach

Jose Mourinho has agreed to become Manchester United boss.

Louis van Gaal's uncomfortable two-year residency was brought to an end on Monday, with FA Cup glory unable to mask poor performances in the Premier League.

Talks began with Mourinho's agent Jorge Mendes the next day, and it is understood a deal is in place for the former Chelsea manager to take the reins.


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Minor details are being ironed out but it is a case of when rather than if he is appointed.

Official confirmation looks likely on Friday after the negotiations were delayed over Mourinho's image rights.

European Union Intellectual Property Office records show Chelsea own the trademark to 'Jose Mourinho' for a number of goods up until 2023 and 2025.

Chelsea refused to comment on the matter, but, given they retained the trademark when Mourinho managed Inter Milan and then Real Madrid, it never looked a serious barrier to a deal.

The Portuguese called United a "monster club" in October but they, much like their new manager, have reputations to rebuild.

Mourinho's second spell at Stamford Bridge came to an embarrassing end in December, with the Premier League champions looking to beat the drop rather than retain their crown.

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A ninth league loss in 16 matches spelled the end of his reign, which the club's technical director Michael Emenalo pinned on "palpable discord" between the boss and his players.

Mourinho was swiftly linked with the United job as pressure mounted on Van Gaal, the man he once assisted at Barcelona.

Mourinho's arrival and United's standing mean big-name signings remain on the cards.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who the Portuguese managed at Inter Milan, is one such player and on Thursday signalled a move could be on the cards.

The Sweden striker is leaving Paris St Germain this summer and confirmed he has had "concrete offers" from Premier League clubs.

Ibrahimovic did not mention United specifically but spoke of his admiration for and "great relationship" with his former boss Mourinho.

Asked if there had been an offer from Old Trafford, Ibrahimovic paused for several seconds with a smile on his face, before saying: "Let's see what happens".

Asked if he had spoken to Mourinho in the past week, the 34-year-old frontman replied: "I have spoken with him every day since I left Inter Milan. I have a great relationship with Mourinho and we are in contact."

Regarding the prospect of Mourinho taking over, Ibrahimovic said: "I think it is a great move - if you want action you bring Mourinho. I believe he is the man to take them to the top.

"Wherever he went he has won. If you want to win, you bring Mourinho. I had a fantastic time with him when I was working with him.

"When I left Inter I said we had had a short time together but a great time. If we will work together again, I don't know. Let's see how things play out.

"I don't give guarantees, but there are concrete offers from the Premier League, so let's see."

There are not only questions over the make-up of Mourinho's squad but also his backroom team, with Ryan Giggs reportedly considering ending his near 29 years with the club.

It is understood that United's most decorated player has an offer to stay on, although it is unclear what his actual role would be, having been assistant to Van Gaal.

No confirmation on the fate of the rest of Van Gaal's backroom team has yet been forthcoming.

Belfast Telegraph


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