For months I had been convinced that Jose Mourinho was heading to Manchester United to replace Louis van Gaal.
United need a big name manager to offset the arrival of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and the Special One is guaranteed to bring trophies back to Old Trafford.
United were in the drivers seat with Mourinho in that all the other big European clubs were either happy with their current managers or had just hired new ones. United was his only real option.
That is until Manchester City knocked Paris St Germain out of the Champions League last week, and suddenly Laurent Blanc’s position in Paris was under threat.
According to Sky Sports PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi contacted Mourinho, via his agent Jorge Mendes, immediately after the City defeat, having grown frustrated at the club’s lack of progress in Europe under Laurent Blanc.
The PSG Chairman is reportedly frustrated that despite dominating Ligue 1, the French champions have been knocked out in the quarter-finals in each of the last four season.
Mourinho is known to have a friendship with Al-Khelaifi, which pre-dates the Qatari’s ownership of PSG. Al-Khelaifi has tried to appoint the 53-year-old as manager twice before, and remains convinced the Portuguese is the man most likely to achieve the club’s ambition of winning the Champions League.
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has said that will be review Louis van Gaal’s position at the end of the season. United currently sit four points off the top four in the Premier League with five games remaining, but could still win the FA Cup.
There are reports that Mourinho has signed a pre-contract from United but that the contract has not been signed by Woodward. If that is true, and United let Mourinho get away to PSG the repercussions will be felt around Old Trafford for years.
With Mourinho as manager, United can still attract some of the biggest names in world football, even if they cannot offer Champions League football next season. IF van Gaal stays then player recruitment becomes an issue.
PSG superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said that he would be willing to join Manchester United only if Van Gaal left the club. The Swede is available on a free transfer this summer but in his 2011 autobiography I Am Zlatan, he alluded to a strained relationship with Van Gaal during their time together at Ajax.
Ibra is not the only top star who thinks that way. While van Gaal is successful promoting young players, his record with experienced professionals like Victor Valdes and Angel Di Maria is not good and will give many top players reason to think twice about moving to Old Trafford under van Gaal.
The winner here is Mourinho. He finally has leverage on Woodward to finally close the deal on the job thay he craves. And if that doesn’t happen, he gets a blank check to bring European glory to PSG.
Where do you think Mourinho will be managing next season? Manchester or Paris?