Jose Mourinho will not step in to take the Manchester United job midseason, with Louis van Gaal facing up to a critical week in charge of the club, according to reports.
The Red Devils manager is under massive pressure in the wake of back-to-back losses against Sunderland and then FC Midtjylland, with the spectre of the former Chelsea boss looming large. But Jack Gaughan wrote in the Mail on Sunday, even if Van Gaal was to get the axe, it’s unlikely Mourinho would take over before June:
Mourinho has never joined a club in mid-season and would be loath to at United, knowing that does not represent his best chance of hitting the ground running.
He would prefer a full pre-season in charge and can expect to hold off from starting any job until June, such is his allure.
However, according to Simon Mullock of the Sunday Mirror, Mourinho may not get the job at Old Trafford at all.
Indeed, Mullock wrote that the club “see Ryan Giggs as their next manager” despite the swirling speculation surrounding the Portuguese. It’s claimed United are “ready to deliver a huge snub” to Mourinho and will push on with a plan to get the Welshman in charge in the summer.
“Appointing Mourinho would only paper over the cracks,” a United source was quoted by Mullock. “The club have a long-term plan that they intend to stick to.”
It’d be a huge surprise if United did opt for Giggs instead of Mourinho, who is a proven coach and one of the finest managers of his generation. As we can see here courtesy of Sky Sports News, prior to the blip the Portuguese endured this campaign, which saw him sacked by the champions, his Premier League record is outstanding:
According to Ed Aarons and Jamie Jackson of the Guardian, the players at Old Trafford want the former Chelsea manager to come in too.
Indeed, the reports don’t paint a particularly positive picture for Van Gaal, with the Dutchman seemingly on the brink at Old Trafford. His side face Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday night, as they seek to salvage something from a desperately poor season. According to Paul Hetherington of the Daily Star, he’ll be sacked should United lose.
As noted by James Ducker of the Times, the run of form this team is currently on is not befitting of their reputation in the English game.
If United do see Mourinho as the man to take the club forward an end-of-season appointment would make sense. Coming in now to take over a squad that is imbalanced and ravaged by injuries wouldn’t benefit the Portuguese, and the Red Devils would surely rather have him ready to start afresh at the beginning of a new season.
Appointing Giggs would be a bold move. The club is at its lowest ebb for years, the squad lacks leaders and the supporters are restless, so throwing an unproven boss in to the mix is unlikely to align all these factors, even one with the Welshman's legendary status.