Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was close to taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager before Roman Abramovich has stepped in, it has been claimed.
Mourinho left Real Madrid at the end of the 2012/13 campaign following defeat in the Coopa del Rey final against rivals Atletico Madrid, and was keen on a move back to the Premier League.
Now it has been claimed that the Special One could have taken a very different path had he opted to take up Manchester United on their offer instead of Chelsea. Ferguson retired at the time of Mourinho's departure from the Bernabeu, and the Portuguese boss seemed like a natural successor.
In an article for Bleacher Report, Sunday Times journalist Duncan Castles alleges that Mourinho was in contact with Manchester United throughout Ferguson's last season in charge, and even discussed the use of a helicopter for his family to use so his children could attend school in London while living in Manchester.
Fork in the road
The crucial moment came when Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich admitted defeat in his pursuit of Pep Guardiola, who had agreed to take over at Bayern Munich having taken a year off from coaching. Castles claims that Mourinho felt he had unfinished business at Chelsea following his departure in 2007 and that his family would feel more settled in London, so opted for the top job at Stamford Bridge instead.
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That prompted Manchester United to turn to David Moyes as Ferguson's replacement - with disastrous consequences. The Scot lasted just 10 months in his job before being sacked having consigned the Red Devils to their worst ever Premier League finish.
He has since been replaced by Louis van Gaal who has encountered similar problems at Old Trafford, despite splashing around £150 million on six new players in the summer transfer window.
Although Chelsea ended Mourinho's first season back in west London without a trophy, they are flying this term under the former Madrid boss. They remain unbeaten in the Premier League and are four points clear of nearest rivals Southampton. The Blues are also expected to announce profits of around £20 million later today.