Manchester United legend David Beckham is eager to see Jose Mourinho return to Premier League management "as soon as possible" amid ongoing reports that he is primed to succeed Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford.
The former England captain told talkSPORT's Andy Goldstein and Jason Cundy on the Sports Bar that Mourinho remains, in his opinion, one of the world's top managers, despite being sacked by Chelsea at the end of 2015:
Jose leaving Chelsea, who would have expected that after the season they had last year? It doesn’t make him a bad manager. He is still one of the best managers and I hope he comes back to the Premier League as soon as possible.
The Premier League is the Premier League for the great players we bring in, the great teams, the money, the fans and the great characters that we have as managers. You want to see managers like that in the game.
Samuel Luckhurst in the Manchester Evening News recently reported that Mourinho has a "gentleman's agreement" with United executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, to take over from the struggling Van Gaal in the Old Trafford dugout.
The Dutchman has been under increasing pressure of late as the Red Devils' chances of qualifying for next season's Champions League have become slimmer and slimmer.
Beckham was non-committal when asked if Van Gaal should remain in the job beyond the summer, per talkSPORT:
He is an experienced manager with a great reputation in the game. Sometimes it takes time. It is not easy being manager of Man United. We have to look at results, we have to look at the way we play, we have to listen to fans - the people that really matter at the club - and I only hear great things about him as a person, as a manager, as a coach.
I have met him once before and he treated me unbelievably well. He is manager of Manchester United so there is always going to be criticism, but at the end of the season let's see what happens.
United face Danish minnows FC Midtjylland at Old Trafford on Thursday in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie, and if they fail to overturn the 2-1 deficit from the first leg, Van Gaal's time at Old Trafford could be over.
Winning the Europa League looks like United's best chance of qualifying for the 2016-17 Champions League, as the Red Devils are currently six points behind fourth-placed Manchester City in the Premier League.
Monday's 3-0 victory over Shrewsbury Town saw United into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup—where they will face West Ham United at home—but has done little to ease the pressure on Van Gaal, per Bleacher Report's Paul Ansorge.
Winning silverware is likely the only thing that can save Van Gaal now, or an unlikely top-four finish in the Premier League.
But even then, Van Gaal may yet be replaced by his old friend Mourinho, whom Bleacher Report's Dean Jones believes would be a better fit at Old Trafford:
United have not won a trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson delivered the Premier League title in his final season at Old Trafford in 2012-13.
Beckham believes that United need to win more silverware again if their big-club status is to stay intact, per talkSPORT: "Man United is Man United. It doesn’t matter if you love them or hate them, they are one of the biggest, if not the biggest, club in the world and you have to keep that reputation. The only way you can keep that reputation is by winning trophies."
A Europa League and FA Cup double would likely be enough for Van Gaal to keep his job into the final season of his contract.
However, given how poor the Dutchman's side have been this season, it seems improbable that they will be able to go all the way in both competitions.
Mourinho looks likely to be in charge at Old Trafford come the start of next season, and the only remaining question is whether Van Gaal will survive until the summer, a scenario that will become even less probable if United drop out of the Europa League on Thursday.