Jose Mourinho, Manchester United 'Gentleman's Agreement' Reported

Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2016

Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho takes his seat for the UEFA Champions League Group G football match between Chelsea and Porto at Stamford Bridge in London on December 9, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL / AFP / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho reportedly believes he has a “gentleman's agreement” with Manchester United chief-executive Ed Woodward to become the next Red Devils boss.

That's according to Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News, who reported Mourinho is yet to sign any sort of pre-contract with the club, but he's confident he will replace current manager Louis van Gaal next season.

Manchester United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward (C) stands in the crowd ahead of the FA cup fourth round football match between Derby County and Manchester United at Pride Park stadium in Derby on January 29, 2016. / AFP / OLI SCARFF / RESTRICTED
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

The Portuguese's agent, Jorge Mendes, would rather see Mourinho replace the Dutchman at some point this season, but Woodward remains hesitant to sack Van Gaal and will instead wait until summer before officially appointing a successor.

Mourinho caused a bit of a stir when he traveled to Milan to watch former club Inter take on Sampdoria over the weekend, although he quickly clarified he would not be returning to the Nerazzurri, per Luckhurst:

There is one thing I want to clarify - I will not be directing things over there next season. Inter already have a project that belongs to Roberto Mancini and (president) Erick Thohir.

Their ideas have my full support and I hope their plans are successful. I want to see Inter fans smiling again and so I hope to witness a victory tomorrow.

My next club? I really do not know, but one thing is certain - I love football and I will return with the same passion and ambition I've always had.

During the same trip, Inter director Bedy Moratti appeared to give away Mourinho's plans for the future, as she told reporters he would be “going to Manchester” after she had dinner with the Special One.

Luckhurst's report also claims former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson would prefer Ryan Giggs to take over from Van Gaal, as the battle between the two most likely candidates continues to rage.

HERNING, DENMARK - FEBRUARY 18:  Louis van Gaal (L) Manager of Manchester United and Ryan Giggs (C) assistant manager look on during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg match between FC Midtjylland and Manchester United at Herning MCH Multi Arena
Michael Regan/Getty Images

In a different piece for the Manchester Evening News, Luckhurst made the case appointing the club legend now would be a mistake:

Giggs has less managerial experience than Under-21s coach Warren Joyce, the ideal interim candidate should Mourinho not be parachuted in. Giggs was a winner at playing level but is a novice at managerial level. He is less qualified to manage United than Moyes, a man 'cut from the same cloth' as Ferguson. Ie. he was born in Glasgow.

United need a manager who will immediately make them competitive again and there is no guarantee Giggs will do that. Moyes felt 'there was never any rush to do anything' at United, which was a breathtakingly complacent approach to the role, and United need a coach who will hit the ground running like an Olympic sprinter.

Per Simon Mullock of the Daily Mirror, a club insider claims United chiefs still see Giggs as the preferred option, however, with the Welshmen seen as the better fit in light of the rebuild the Red Devils face.

Under Van Gaal, United have slumped out of the Premier League's top four in the last few months, and the embarrassing 2-1 UEFA Europa League loss against Danish side FC Midtjylland has put even more pressure on his position.

Despite a string of negative performances and poor results, Van Gaal still seems likely to survive the season, with the club set to announce its new direction during the summer.