LONDON • Jose Mourinho is expected to be named Manchester United's new manager by today, after the tangled issue of who owns his name - and, crucially, is licensed to exploit it commercially - is resolved.
The unusual sticking point has prevented the widely-trailed formal announcement that Mourinho will succeed Louis van Gaal in the Old Trafford hot seat.
The Portuguese is understood to have agreed a three-year contract, reportedly worth £36 million (S$72.8 million).
But British media are also reporting that Chelsea are demanding United pay a sum running into millions of pounds to sign over three separate trademarks of Mourinho's name, one of which the club have owned since 2006 during his first spell in charge.
Although the trademarks are limited in scope - reports say they cover secondary items like computer games and teddy bears - the area is important enough to United, who have a diverse portfolio of global sponsorships, to require resolution.
Chelsea believe they are entitled to compensation for allowing United to market their new manager on specific items.
Despite the hindrance, Mourinho yesterday received praise from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who said he has chosen his next club but would not give away the name.
"Yes I have made my choice," said Ibrahimovic, who added that he had decided "long ago".
But the 34-year-old dodged all questions about whether that team was United.
The Swede, who has left Paris Saint-Germain, has been strongly linked to a move to the English Premier League. When asked whether he was tempted to work again with Mourinho, Ibrahimovic only said that they had worked well together at Inter Milan, where the striker played from 2006 to 2009.
"I think it's a great move," for Manchester United to hire Mourinho," he said. "You want action, you bring Mourinho. I believe he's the man to bring them back to top. Wherever he went he won."
Real Madrid forward Ronaldo would like to see Mourinho bring the good times back to United but has dismissed a possible return to Old Trafford.
The Portuguese forward said in an interview by the La Sexta TV station in Spain: "He's already signed, hasn't he? If it's something United wanted I think it's good. I hope Manchester United get back to being what they were because it's an impressive club but in the last years they lacked an identity a bit.
"And it hurts me seeing United like that because it's a club that I carry in my heart. I wish Mourinho can carry them back to the top."
REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN