Jose Mourinho expected to sign a centre-back in January before Man United sacked him


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s success in his caretaker role at Manchester United has made the club’s fans forget all about Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese coach said in December that the Red Devils needed a “miracle” to finish in the top four.

And yet here we are in the middle of February, with Man United currently occupying fourth spot in the Premier League.

Solskjaer has guided the club to eight wins and a draw from nine league matches, and they’ve capitalised on the inconsistent form of Arsenal and Chelsea.

It remains to be seen whether the Norwegian will be offered the job on a permanent basis but he’ll be thanked for lifting the mood around the club regardless.

Mourinho’s final weeks in charge were extremely tough, both on the pitch and off it.

In the end his departure, which came following a comprehensive 3-1 defeat to Liverpool in December, was inevitable.


Mourinho's January targets

But it turns out that the Portuguese coach was already making plans for the January transfer window.

According to ESPN, Mourinho was expecting to sign a new centre-back when the window opened.

Three names were of interest - Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar, Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly - who was the favourite option, but was unlikely to be available until the summer - and the surprise name on the list, Newcastle’s Jamaal Lascelles.

Lascelles’ performances for Newcastle had attracted the attention of United’s scouts, and it would have been interesting to see if Mourinho had been able to make a move materialise.

Newcastle United v Watford - FA Cup Fourth Round

ESPN add that a commanding centre-back remains a priority for the club in the summer.

Mourinho’s desire to improve his defence last summer was well documented.

Harry Maguire, Toby Alderweireld, Diego Godin, Yerry Mina and Jerome Boateng were all linked with a move to Old Trafford.

But United’s hierarchy rejected Mourinho’s rejects because the manager had already signed Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof during his reign, which began in 2016.

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