The announcement that Jose Mourinho will become the next Manchester United manager is widely expected to come on Tuesday.
Rumours began spreading not long after Wayne Rooney had lifted his first FA Cup and his club's 12th, after a period of 12 years without the historic trophy.
The news was horribly timed to coincide with United's celebrations and certainly did not come from Manchester United.
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Instead, the super-agent, Jorge Mendes is believed to have leaked the news in an obvious attempt to undermine Louis van Gaal during his moment of glory and to remind the footballing world that he is the most influential football agent in the game today.
Winning the FA Cup is an excellent achievement and shouldn’t be downplayed or undervalued, but it is ultimately United’s poor league performances, dull displays and the financial pressures that this brings to the club, that has resulted in these rumours circulating.
Mourinho’s assumed imminent arrival has been met with mixed responses from fans, with some over the moon and others concerned that the Portuguese manager’s antics and tactics are not something that should be associated with the club.
The 53-year-old has also come under fire for his apparent apathy towards using youth products and, with the emergence this season of Jesse Lingard, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Marcus Rashford, there will be intense scrutiny over how Mourinho, should he get the job, handles the proud tradition of promoting home-grown products at Old Trafford.
Under Van Gaal, Manchester United fans have been subjected to some uninspiring football in spite of the exciting young talent on display. The Red Devils scored just 49 goals in the league this season and have looked bereft of ideas when in the final third of the pitch on too many occasions.
Mourinho has been criticised by many for his perceived negative tactics, but this is an inaccurate criticism to level at the former Chelsea manager.
He certainly builds his team from the back, as was made obvious from his very first season in England, when his Chelsea side won the league conceding just 15 goals (a Premier League record); but the fact that they were also the league’s second-highest scorers (scoring 72 goals compared to Manchester United’s 58) is often forgotten.
In 2006, Mourinho secured his second Premier League title in as many years, this time ending the season as joint-top scorers with Manchester United (with 72 goals again) and had the league’s best defensive record once again.
After his second coming at Chelsea, following successful yet tempestuous reigns at both Inter Milan and Real Madrid, Mourinho got his hands on his third league title in 2015 where, once more, his side boasted the best defensive record and the second best scoring record (this time with 73 goals).
Unlike Van Gaal, Mourinho has been able to combine both defensive solidity with attacking fluidity in England and his Premier League record makes him a tantalising prospect for a Manchester United side desperate to return to the summit of English football.
Mourinho is a world-class manager whose coaching pedigree, tactical adaptability and winning mentality will be invaluable for United as they seek to compete with a number of teams in the league who have been, or will be, boosted by big name managers.
It has been clear that in the past Mourinho has been, and is still, very keen to take on the United job and his respect for Sir Alex Ferguson could very well be a contributing factor in a reformed Mourinho as he edges closer to a job that he has coveted for many years.
There has certainly been a lot of time available for Mourinho to introspect and evaluate what went wrong at Chelsea this season, and what has gone wrong in the third season at every club that he has managed aside from Porto.
Should he arrive at Old Trafford this week, then it will be interesting to see what Mourinho has been planning during his enforced six month sabbatical and it will indeed be fascinating to observe how he approaches the job at United in every way, from his attitude to his transfer policy.
Only time will tell whether Mourinho and United are a perfect fit, but all of the ingredients are there to give United fans a reason to be excited and hopeful about the season ahead.
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