Manchester United have reportedly agreed a preliminary contract with Jose Mourinho to take over from Louis van Gaal next season, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais.
The pre-contract is not exactly a final agreement but effectively reserves Mourinho for United if they wish to take up the option.
El Pais report that the pre-contract would see United pay £5million in compensation to Mourinho if the club do not offer him a final contract by May 1 and another £10m if they still haven’t offered him a deal by June 1.
Such pre-contracts are common in football and United are believed to be deciding whether to opt for the experience of Mourinho or the youth of Van Gaal’s assistant Ryan Giggs for next season.
However, agents of players targeted by United have been told to expect Mourinho to be the manager next season if United don’t make the top four.
El Pais claim Real Madrid sounded out Mourinho to return to the club next season but were told he had the pre-contract agreement with United.
Mourinho has been constantly linked with a move to Old Trafford since his sacking as Chelsea manager in December.
In February, a friend of the former Inter Milan boss confirmed that he was destined to replace Van Gaal at the Premier League club.
Inter director Bedy Moratti, sister of the Italian club’s former president Massimo Moratti, divulged the news after having lunch with Mourinho and her family in the city.
Asked afterwards if the 53-year-old Portuguese coach will return to Inter, she replied: “No, he’s happy now, he’s going to Manchester. Of course, he’s always fantastic and we missed him as a person here.”
Mourinho recently stressed that he is keen to return to management this summer.