Jose Mourinho’s agent has denied a deal has been struck for his client to replace Louis van Gaal as Manchester United manager.
Mourinho is understood to be spending the week in Portugal with his family, but he is looking for a quick return to management and with Van Gaal’s United floundering, the 52-year-old could realise his dream of taking over at Old Trafford if the club’s board decides to dispense with the current manager.
Some fans clearly want that to happen.
Cries of Mourinho’s name could be heard around Old Trafford on Saturday when United slumped to a 2-1 defeat by Norwich.
United were booed off the pitch following their third straight defeat, which left them in fifth position.
Three weeks ago, senior United figures insisted Van Gaal had the board’s full support, but after a run of six matches without a win, they have now fallen quiet.
It is understood the United board were disappointed in particular at Van Gaal’s failure to lead the team through what was viewed as a relatively easy Champions League group containing PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow and Wolfbsurg.
A second straight defeat in the league last weekend meant United go into the busy Christmas schedule outside the top four.
Although United could stomach another year out of the Champions League in a financial sense, the damage to the club’s standing in the game would be hit if they were not in Europe’s top club competition next season.
With Mourinho available and willing to take the job, there has been a flood of speculation linking the two-time Champions League winner with United.
Today, Van Gaal will take questions on his future for the first time since Mourinho was sacked. Speaking after the loss to Norwich, Van Gaal insisted he had the backing of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and his own players.
“Ed was very fast out of the dressing room but I feel that support, yes,” the 64-year-old said.