LONDON • Jose Mourinho has told friends and associates that he will replace Louis van Gaal as Manchester United manager at the end of the season, according to reports in several British newspapers yesterday.
The Daily Mail, Daily Star, Daily Mirror and Daily Telegraph all quoted an unnamed source close to the 53-year-old Portuguese as saying that his installation at Old Trafford was a "done deal".
"Mourinho's going to Manchester United. It's a done deal," the Telegraph paper cited a "well-placed source" as saying. "Chelsea is the only big job up for grabs."
Spanish newspaper El Confidencial went a step further, revealing details of the contract.
It claimed that Mourinho will sign a three-year-deal that will see him earn £15.5 million (S$31.4 million) a year. The former Real Madrid manager remains of great interest in Spain, particularly in the capital, with speculation that Real had tried and failed - twice - to get him to return to the Bernabeu before they turned to Zinedine Zidane.
Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in December but said in an interview last week that he would soon be back in management.
"No, I am not enjoying it (not working). I can have my family, I can have my friends, I can have my quiet life, which I also like, and I can have my football," he told GQ magazine on Sunday. "I can have everything together and I don't need to give up on one of them.
Carrick's United future in limbo
LONDON • Michael Carrick has been left in the dark regarding his future at Manchester United despite having little more than four months left on his contract.
The midfielder's deal expires at the end of the season, but he has not received any indication from the club over whether they will discuss an extension.
Carrick, 34, is happy to wait to see if he is in United's plans and will not force the issue in the manner of John Terry's public stand-off with Chelsea, but there is concern at Old Trafford of a perceived drift in decision-making.
The club appear to be undecided on Carrick, a situation exacerbated by continuing uncertainty over the future of manager Louis van Gaal, who did not make a single January signing. It was the first time since 2005 that the club did not strengthen in the winter transfer window.
Carrick will not be short of alternative offers, with Newcastle United keen to sign him on a free transfer this summer, but he prefers to stay at the club he joined for £18.6 million (S$37.6million) from Tottenham Hotspur 10 years ago.
He has an important ally at United in Ryan Giggs, his former team-mate who is now the assistant manager. Giggs has even floated the idea of Carrick joining him on the coaching staff but it remains to be seen if his advice will be heeded.
Carrick has been troubled by injuries this season, but he still plays an important role, with the team winning seven of the 13 league matches he has started.
THE TIMES, LONDON
"To be fully happy I need everything, so I go back to football. I think it's my natural habitat. I have worked since I can remember, and as a manager since 2000.
"I stopped when I left Chelsea in 2007, for a few months, and now is the second time I stop in 15 or 16 years, so it is not a drama. But for sure, I will be back soon."
Van Gaal, who has another year left on his contract after this season, has had to deal with constant speculation about his position after United made a stuttering start to the season.
The Dutchman said on Sunday that he thought reports of negotiations between United and Mourinho were an invention of the media.
Should Mourinho replace van Gaal, the future of United's assistant manager Ryan Giggs will be in doubt. The former United winger wants to be a full-time manager at Old Trafford in the future and is ready to test himself as a No. 1.
But Mourinho is likely to take his most trusted lieutenant, Rui Faria, with him as his compatriot has been his No. 2 for over two decades.
United legend Bryan Robson has urged the club to appoint Giggs, 42, over Mourinho. "Ryan really can be the Guardiola of United, I am sure of it," he told The Sun, in reference to former Barcelona midfielder Pep Guardiola, who went on to win trophies at the Nou Camp as a manager.
"Yes, he's a quiet lad but that should make no difference. He has always been a deep thinker on the game."
Rio Ferdinand, meanwhile, has warned his old club that they risk spending a long time in the wilderness without success like Liverpool if their next managerial appointment proves to be a failure.
The former defender, who won 17 trophies in 12 years at United, fears that United could suffer a similar trophy drought as Liverpool, who have not won the title for 26 years and have lifted only the 2012 League Cup in the past decade.
"The problem they've got now is who they choose. Are they going to go for someone who has had success, who knows how to manage teams like Jose Mourinho, or will they go with someone who is already in the house like Ryan Giggs?
"That's the problem they have got and the questions that have to be asked. If I knew the answer to that question, I would be the CEO."
REUTERS, THE TIMES, LONDON