In his book “Prepare to Lose: The Mourinho Era”, journalist and author Diego Torres claims that Jose Mourinho cried when he was overlooked for the position as Manchester United manager when Sir Alex Ferguson called it a day back in 2013.
The Portuguese was reportedly desperate to succeed his older colleague at Old Trafford, and felt betrayed by the manager when he found out that it was David Moyes, and not him, who was “The Chosen One”.
In hindsight though, it was probably the best thing that could have happened for the former Chelsea manager.
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If he takes over the manager position at Old Trafford now, and that is in all likelihood not an if, but a when, he will have a much better chance of succeeding than he would have had three years ago.
Here are three key reasons as to why it is now the perfect time for Mourinho to take over at Manchester United.
Lowered Expectation Levels
Us humans have a funny way of thinking that everything always will remain as it is right now. No wonder then that everyone connected to Manchester United back in 2013 thought that the Red Devils would carry on dominating English football, just as the club had done for the last 20 years.
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal have done an excellent job, though, in lowering the expectation levels at the club. The widespread sense of entitlement among the fans has been replaced with a realisation that title fights and participation in the Champions League aren’t something that can be taken for granted.
Low expectations are a manager's best friend, and Jose Mourinho couldn’t ask for a better starting point.
As a mighty bonus, Sir Alex Ferguson's successors have also installed a timid boring brand of football at the “Theatre of Dreams”. Mourinho's preference for a cautious counter-attacking playing style reportedly worried members of the United hierarchy when Ferguson's successor was picked back in 2013, but if you compare Mourinho's brand of football to what Moyes and Van Gaal have served up, it suddenly looks quite attractive.
It’s not entirely true that Jose Mourinho never prefers to give game-time to young players.
At Chelsea, for example, he let his trusted old Petr Cech go when it came down to a straight choice between the Czech veteran and a 23-year-old Thibaut Courtois.
The problem Mourinho has with young players though, is that he is risk averse. One of the Portuguese's cornerstone principles in football is to minimize risks as much as possible, meaning that if he doesn’t know exactly what he will get from a youngster, he will pick an older player that he knows will come up with the goods.
With that in mind, this is the perfect time for Mourinho to take over the Manchester United squad and reap the benefits from all the game-time who’s been given to young players under Van Gaal.
The Portuguese will know what to expect from the young players. He will know that Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford has the quality required at the highest level, and that Tim Fosu-Mensah isn’t far behind.
If Mourinho had taken over the United squad six months ago, we would never have found out what Rashford and Fosu-Mensah can bring to the table. Now we know, and so does Mourinho, which means he can take full advantage of their capabilities while not taking to many risks.
Mourinho will not have an unlimited transfer budget available to him this summer, but it won’t be far from it.
A new manager, at any club, is often given a relatively large treasure chest in his first transfer window, and the bigger name the manager has, the more money he’s usually given to spend.
At Manchester United, the board and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward will certainly acknowledge the need for a rebuilding of the squad, after consecutive finishes outside the top-three since Sir Alex retired. Even more importantly though, no other club, and this is actually literary speaking, has more money available than Manchester United.
For starters, they are part of a Premier League that swims in cash, thanks to the new TV deal that kicks in from next season. On top of that though, Manchester United is a fantastically well-run business enterprise, bringing in revenue that other clubs can only dream of.
According to the latest addition of accounting firm Deloitte's annual financial profile of Europe's twenty richest clubs, “Football Money League”, Manchester United is currently the third richest club on the continent.
What’s more, the report states that the Red Devils probably will rise to the very top by next year, and become Europe's richest club.
If Jose Mourinho wears a big grin the next time you see him, you know why.
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