Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is “confident” he will be Manchester United manager by the start of the 2016/17 season according to reports.
The Independent on Sunday has been told that many of the Old Trafford hierarchy are now feeling that it is necessary to appoint the Portuguese as Manchester City have secured Pep Guardiola.
Louis van Gaal is widely expected to leave in the summer after an underwhelming second season, and Mourinho’s representatives believe the club is ready to hand the job to their client after recent discussions – though no deal is yet fully done.
Manchester United refused to comment on Friday-night reports by the BBC that they had been talking to the former Chelsea manager, but it is understood there has been contact between the two parties for well over a month.
The Independent first reported on 18 December that Mourinho’s camp had targeted United as his next job immediately after being sacked by Chelsea, and this paper revealed two weeks ago that talks had reached the point where the 53-year-old felt assured enough to send a forensic analysis of his plan for the job.
Though there was a perception this was an act of desperation, it was the opposite, with Mourinho feeling that it only bolstered his already strong claim for the job. Mourinho is said to have been “relaxed” throughout this process.
As to the question of why no change has been made now, The Independent on Sunday understands that is more down to United, as executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward does not want to make any change until the summer.