Jose Mourinho has held talks with Manchester United about becoming the club’s next manager, it was reported on Friday.
Dan Roan and Simon Stone of BBC Sport claimed the Portuguese has been in discussions about taking over from incumbent boss Louis van Gaal.
“No agreement has been reached, and the club have made no comment, but negotiations have begun,” Roan and Stone reported, suggesting the Dutchman is likely to leave his post at the end of the season. They also claim Mourinho, who was sacked by champions Chelsea earlier in the campaign, is “excited” at the prospect of joining United.
It’d be a remarkable appointment for the Red Devils, who have been seeking to challenge for the top honours again since legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. The former Chelsea man could certainly be a presence to expedite that process; he's won the Champions League twice, as well as eight league titles during his career as a manager.
Bleacher Report’s Red Devils correspondent, Paul Ansorge, thinks the appointment will make for guaranteed box-office entertainment:
Still, it’s a possible acquisition that will divide the supporters. For the section of the Old Trafford crowd who crave silverware in the immediacy, Mourinho fits the bill.
The man has proved himself to be a winner at the clubs he’s taken over and, given his previous success in the Premier League, which he's won on three occasions, is undoubtedly capable of building a title-winning side.
However, there are drawbacks. Mourinho rarely leaves a club in better shape than he found it, his longest managerial stint was four seasons and he’s never shown a willingness to blood young players from academies into the first team.
With these issues in mind, Spanish football expert Sergi Dominguez doesn't feel as though the manager is the right fit for the club.
Agree with this. Mourinho is not a builder, Pep is. Mourinho not what United needs, but United is what Jose needs. https://t.co/MiT15heEKt— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) February 4, 2016
There’s baggage with Mourinho too, something that was on show in earnest during what was a dreadful start to the 2015-16 campaign for Chelsea.
The Portuguese became embroiled in a row with his medical staff and launched tirades at referees, and his team struggled badly. The Chelsea icon was sacked just months on from winning his third Premier League title with the club and has been out of work ever since.
Should Mourinho take the job, the rivalry between the two Manchester clubs will also likely be taken up a notch. That's because Manchester City's new boss will be Pep Guardiola. He and Mourinho endured a very spiky relationship when they were in charge of Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively.
Harry Sherlock of Goal feels as though success is inevitable for Mourinho at United, although not without a long-term cost:
Looks like Mourinho to #MUFC might well be happening, according to sheer weight of reports. Success guaranteed, as is eventual implosion...— Harry Sherlock (@Harry_Sherlock) February 5, 2016
Is Mourinho the right man to take United forward?
Perhaps a jolt in the arm is what United need, though. After all, this current squad is young and, aside from a select few players, is lacking genuine leaders. If Mourinho can forge a winning mentality in the likes of Anthony Martial, Memphis Depay and Luke Shaw early in their careers, that can only be a positive in the long run.
The Old Trafford crowd loves its characters too. So while many will have concerns about Mourinho’s temperament and various undesirable antics, should he start winning football matches on a regular basis, the United fans will be emphatically behind him.
Still, under the Portuguese, any success should be savoured, as history has proved things often come to a bitter conclusion when he's at the helm.