José At United Can Give Roman The Middle Finger
If I were Ed Woodward today I’d be so tempted to pick up the phone and ask Jose Mourinho to come and manage Manchester United.
Jose wants it. He’s always wanted it if the truth be told, despite his Mafia omertà-esque refusal to admit it, so that he could assuage his disappointment by becoming the happy one back at Chelsea.
United fans increasingly want it. Having dined for 26 years on fillet steak with thrice cooked chips, the last couple of years must have been like eating at the work canteen in comparison.
And now I reckon Ed Woodward and the Glazers want it too.
Fergie’s influence died after Moyes and Sir Bobby isn’t getting any younger, so the two men that raised the biggest concerns about Mr Special One rocking up at Old Trafford a couple of years ago are no longer listened to in the same way they were. This is important, especially as Woodward is a disciple of the Galactico model. Therefore he must accept that big name players need big name managers and they don’t come much bigger than Jose.
Forget Pep, that’s a bunfight United can’t afford to be involved in 6 months down the line.
They could end up missing out on the current Bayern boss and make themselves look silly if he ends up where the wise money is being laid, namely the noisy neighbours. So look elsewhere and never look a gift Jose in the mouth.
What are the downsides? Longevity, it doesn’t come with Jose, but the brown-nosing he gave Fergie and United after his Real Madrid side beat the Red Devils a couple of years ago suggests to me that he’d lean towards totally embracing Manchester United, their values and principles, rather than the other way round. If he managed that, for me he’s be a better bet than Pep anyway, simply because he knows what it’s like to win a competitive Premier League rather than Pep, who has strolled to titles in two-team leagues.
Imagine a pi**ed off, motivated, point-to-prove Mourinho walking out at Old Trafford! How exciting would that be!?
Make no mistake – the press release saying he was staying in the country was aimed squarely at Man United.
Arsenal aren’t taking him, City likewise, which means for Jose this is make or break, a short term contract to manage United where the story is already written. Either a Premier League or FA Cup victory, maybe even both, with a smiling Giggs at his side, a revitalised Rooney and a war chest to bring in some big names.
What about his style though? Isn’t Jose the antithesis of what a Manchester United manager should be? Defensive? Boring? Park the bus?
No, read the above. He knows this is his only chance of following his mentor Fergie, so he has to change and adapt. And going out of his way to tell everyone he’s staying in England suggests to me that he’d do everything in his power to change his image.
Then he can walk away from United with titles under his belt, Ryan Giggs ready to take over, the attacking style reintroduced and a big middle finger raised to the doubters. Including Roman Abramovich, a man who let’s not forget has sacked him twice. Doing it on Roman’s patch with a bigger club is so Jose Mourinho.
Where does this leave Louis van Gaal? Well, he was brought in to steady the ship and leave them in a competitive position, which let’s remember they are currently in. Last time I looked they aren’t a million miles away from putting in a serious league challenge with the FA Cup to come and a European campaign on the February back-burner.
It’s not a bad position for Jose to pitch himself into. So in short, LvG could be toast.
What about long term? Well as I’ve had pointed out to me over the weekend as I extolled the virtues of long term planning, a robust plan for clubs to grow and move forward just doesn’t exist anymore. As much as Pep may waltz into City as the next big thing, if City don’t do well he’ll be out, just like Jose. So for clubs who only chose from an elite group of managers, there is no plan other than to snag one while you can and see where it leads you.
For me, that man is Jose. Long term is dead, long live the here and now!