Jose Mourinho officially named new Manchester United manager
Holly Thackeray | May 21, 2016
Man Utd make Mourinho new manager
It’s official – former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho has signed on the dotted line to become the new Manchester United manager. The Portuguese tactician has penned a 3-year deal with the option to stay on at Old Trafford until at least 2020, and replaces Louis van Gaal following the Dutchman’s recent exit after completing just two seasons of his contract.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 27, 2016
Speaking of the ‘Special One’ signing, Man Utd executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: “Jose is quite simply the best manager in the game today. He has won trophies and inspired players in countries across Europe and, of course, he knows the Premier League very well, having won three titles here.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome him to Manchester United. His track record of success is ideal to take the club forward.”
While, as for the man himself, new Mourinho stated: “To become Manchester United manager is a special honour in the game. It is a club known and admired throughout the world. There is a mystique and a romance about it which no other club can match.
“I have always felt an affinity with Old Trafford; it has hosted some important memories for me in my career and I have always enjoyed a rapport with the United fans.
“I’m looking forward to being their manager and enjoying their magnificent support in the coming years.”
This managerial move has been long mooted, with Man Utd struggling both domestically and in Europe since long-serving boss Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, finishing seventh, fourth and fifth in the Premier League after the Scottish serial winner’s dugout departure.
Controversial character Mourinho was tipped to take over the hotseat back in 2013, but instead returned for a second tenure with Chelsea as the Red Devils appointed David Moyes, with ‘the Special One’ having sandwiched a treble-winning stint at Inter Milan and a successful three seasons at Real Madrid in between.
Having guided Chelsea to the 2014/15 Premier League title, two-time Champions League winner Mourinho left the Blues in December for a second time as the Londoners failed to defend their trophy, eventually finishing 10th.
Managerial appointments make for exciting season ahead
Man Utd first encountered explosive Mourinho back in his Porto days, as the gregarious gaffer guided the Dragons to 2004 Champions League success, knocking the Red Devils out acrimoniously along the way, inspiring his famous Old Trafford touchline dash.
The Manchester United hierarchy, who reportedly had reservations over appointing the Portuguese, will be expecting Mourinho to bring success and trophies back to Old Trafford, especially with Pep Guardiola arriving at local rivals Manchester City.
Mourinho, 6/1 with Coral to guide the Red Devils to Premier League victor next term, should certainly be motivated with his former La Liga nemesis just across town. There’s also the addition of Antonio Conte at Chelsea and recent arrival of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, which should make for a thrilling top-flight season in 2016/17.
New United manager Mourinho is also tipped to attract high profile transfer targets, with the coach’s ex-Inter marksman Zlatan Ibrahimovic widely expected to link up with his former boss. There will inevitably be interest in several of Mourinho agent Jorge Mendes’ clients, as well as Everton and England defender John Stones.
Which players will Mourinho rate?
Transfer rumours are all well and good, but summer squad overhaul or not, Mourinho will still have to work with some of the existing Red Devils. So, who could be headed for the Old Trafford exit under ‘the Special One’? And who may become a surprise Mourinho project?
Of course, former Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata was shipped off by Mourinho when at Stamford Bridge and, having been omitted from Spain’s Euro 2016 squad, looks the most likely to be sent on his way, even after his excellent FA Cup final equaliser.
With Dutch utility man Daley Blind, a Van Gaal signing, stating of his former Netherlands boss’ departure: “I always worked well with him and would have been keen that the co-operation lasted longer,” there could also be doubts about the future as Blind far from fits the stereotype of a bruising Mourinho-style centre half.
Though Chris Smalling should fit that enforcer role like a glove and the Portuguese also likes to pair a solid centre back with a ball-playing one, hence the links to Stones, PSG’s Marquinhos and now injured Aymeric Laporte.
Marcos Rojo is one whose ill-discipline in defence could see him given short shrift under the new gaffer, though Phil Jones is exactly the type of bullish English defender who could improve under Mourinho – if he’s able to remain fit.
As for the defensive flanks, Matteo Darmian is the obvious beneficiary of an Italian speaking coach who appreciates intelligent defenders, so should rapidly improve under the Portuguese. While the physical prowess of Antonio Valencia, still recovering Luke Shaw and adaptable defence-minded talent Timothy Fosu-Mensah should all go down well.
Rumours that Michael Carrick is to be offered a one-year extension also sound accurate, as the former Inter manager tends to partner a midfield destroyer or box-to-box dynamo with another calmer deep playmaking presence, with Xabi Alonso and Thiago Motta both previously pulling strings under the 53-year-old. In this scenario, Morgan Schneiderlin, who so excelled getting up and down the pitch at Southampton, could be refreshed by this change of management and entrusted to be the man who breaks up play.
It is still to be seen whether Mourinho will opt for a 4-2-3-1 with a number 10 that served him well at Chelsea, or a more traditional 4-3-3. For the former, Wayne Rooney, who reportedly almost joined the ex-Blues boss in London, has the tenacity to feature in midfield as long as not shouldered with a potentially risky holding position.
Though it is perhaps Ander Herrera who could benefit most as part of a midfield three, having been largely ignored for large portions of Van Gaal’s tenure. A forward-thinking midfielder with bite, Mourinho loves a player ala Frank Lampard or Wesley Sneijder who arrives late in the box to finish.
Last but not least up top, technical but still pacey and powerful duo Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford should be safe, though neither have yet developed into the archetypal Mourinho-team poacher.
The coach has a reputation for favouring battering rams, but Didier Drogba, Diego Milito and Ibrahimovic all brought considerable skill to the box as well, with the latter a perfect foil and mentor for Martial and Rashford.
Instead it is the likes of Memphis Depay and Adnan Januzaj who may fall foul, with the pair not exactly known for their work-rate on the wings. FA Cup winner Jesse Lingard, though slight, would be ready to run himself ragged, which should see the academy product feature regularly still perhaps at the expense of those supposedly greater young talents.