With Jose Mourinho’s agent Jorge Mendes claiming that there is no offer on the table from Manchester United as of Tuesday, was that update laced with a “come and get me” plea?
It’s highly likely.
[ MORE: Pep to Chelsea? Jose to United? ]
Mourinho, 52, will still be a man in demand despite being fired by Chelsea last week following a dreadful run of nine defeats in their opening 16 games of the Premier League season.
The defending champs were all over the place as Mourinho’s off-the-field antics took center stage and talk of a player revolt against the Portuguese coach was rife.
Putting all that to one side, he’s still one of the greatest managers in history. He’s a winner. He can — albeit mostly for a short period of time at each club if you look at his track record — provide success and trophies in whichever country he wants. Trophies and success is exactly what Manchester United is desperate for.
Mendes was quoted by Globoesporte as saying the following on Tuesday with regards to Mourinho being offered the job at United, as current United boss Louis Van Gaal (a man Mourinho previously worked under at Barcelona as his assistant) continues to hang on by a thread.
“There is nothing,” Mendes said “We don’t know what will happen in the future, but now there is no agreement. There isn’t an official proposal either, that’s not true.”
In a statement from Mourinho’s reps following his firing by Chelsea it was claimed he wouldn’t be taking a sabbatical and he and his family would remain at their family home in London. That all points to Mourinho staying in the Premier League and wanting to get back in as soon as possible.
Would he take the job at United if it came up? Almost certainly. It would be perhaps the biggest challenge of his career as he would come in mid-season and have to deliver wins to repair any damage done to his reputation.
Despite having to trample over one of his key mentors in Van Gaal to get the job, rebounding at United would be a great opportunity for Mourinho to prove just how good he is and silence the doubters who will be making their voices heard between now and his next job. There are risks to taking on the job at United, especially with the current squad showing plenty of deficiencies, especially in the attacking third, but given Sir Alex Ferguson’s staunch support of Mourinho in the past and recently — reports claimed Fergie wanted Mourinho to replace him in 2013 but the United board didn’t want to deal with his antics — plus Mourinho always seeming to be complimentary of United, it seems like he would relish reigniting the hope at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Mourinho would not shirk at the responsibility which comes with not only delivering success but also living in the shadows of Ferguson. The only real issue here is: can he build a lasting legacy at United and stay in a job for more than three seasons?
A separate report from ESPN states that Van Gaal was given an ultimatum before United’s defeat to Norwich City last weekend that he must win at least two of the Red Devils’ final three games to keep his job. Next up for United is Stoke City on Boxing Day and then Mourinho’s old team, Chelsea at Old Trafford on Dec. 28 to see out 2015.
Wouldn’t it be something if Chelsea defeat United and hammer the final nail in Van Gaal’s managerial coffin which, in turn, sets up Mourinho for the managers job at United.
Can you picture Mourinho waving his arms in the air triumphantly at the Stretford End after leading United to a big win over title rivals Chelsea in the future? I can.
Arguably one of Mourinho’s greatest moments as a coach — leading FC Porto to late victory to dump United out of the UEFA Champions League in 2004 on their way to winning the title — came at Old Trafford. Many more could come for him at that stadium in the future, if he chooses to take up the monumental challenge.