Jose Mourinho Linked to Arsenal Amid Strong Manchester United Rumours

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Jose Mourinho Linked to Arsenal Amid Strong Manchester United Rumours
Tim Ireland/Associated Press

Jose Mourinho is reportedly a candidate to take over from longstanding nemesis Arsene Wenger at Arsenal this summer, although the Portuguese remains heavily linked with a move to Manchester United.

The surprise report comes from Fichajes (h/t Alex Young of Goal), which said the north Londoners are ready to capitalise on United’s failure to tie up a contract with the iconic coach. It’s suggested the Arsenal hierarchy is growing tired of the prolonged underachievement on Wenger’s watch.

The Gunners sit in third place in the Premier League, 11 points back on surprise leaders Leicester City having played one game less. It’s a state of affairs that has left a lot of fans disgruntled, with some supporters bringing critical banners to matches.

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Wenger has struggled to get the best from Arsenal this season.

Arsenal icon Ian Wright is unhappy with these displays in the stands and has encouraged the supporters to direct their ire elsewhere, per BT Sport Football:

If Wenger were to move on in the summer, Mourinho would be an intriguing choice for Arsenal. While he’s a winner, his style of management is at odds with Wenger’s. Pragmatism is favoured, promotion of young players is a secondary concern and a win-at-all-costs mentality is instilled within the squad.

Given these differences, it’s little surprise the two have exchanged verbals down the years. Mourinho infamously branded Wenger a “specialist in failure” in 2014 after the Arsenal boss stated “it is his fear to fail,” per Adam Bate of Sky Sports.

GLYN KIRK/Getty Images
Mourinho has long been considered to be the antithesis of Wenger.

There seems to be a swell in stories linking Mourinho with a move to Manchester United, though. El Pais (h/t Jack Wilson of the Daily Star) claimed the coach had signed a pre-contract with the club, but the Red Devils have declined to comment on whether that's the case, according to Reuters (h/t Marc Williams of the Daily Star).

The role’s incumbent, Louis van Gaal, has endured a lot of criticism after a tumultuous term. However, Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp, writing for the Daily Mail, thinks the Dutchman would leave behind a positive legacy should he depart, with the likes of Marcus Rashford coming through under his tenure:

There's no way Van Gaal will still be in charge at Manchester United next season, but he does deserve credit for one thing: giving the kids a chance.

You wonder if whoever replaces him will show similar faith in United’s youth or simply demand big-money signings. When a youngster has done well, Van Gaal has backed them.

When I saw Marcus Rashford score against Arsenal I wondered if he was just a young player with luck on his side. Not any more. He looks a real star.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Indeed, Sean Lunt of HITC Sport is unsure how Rashford would develop under a manager such as Mourinho, who is notorious for his unwillingness to blood youngsters:

Nevertheless, it certainly looks more likely Mourinho will be at Old Trafford than the Emirates Stadium next season.

While Arsenal need to find a better blend between fortitude and flair, sometimes simply too much water has passed under the bridge; if he took the job on, the focus on the Portuguese would be scrupulous, and the criticism would be amplified if things were to go wrong.

United seem like a better overall fit for the former Chelsea manager, although you suspect Mourinho would have to give certain guarantees when it comes to the integration of young talent.

The Red Devils are synonymous with giving youth a chance, and even a coach as illustrious as Mourinho may have to bow to this tradition.

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