LONDON: Any time soon Jose Mourinho will be confirmed as new manager of Manchester United but then the headlines may be overtaken by the prospect of Zlatan Ibrahimovic arriving from Paris Saint-Germain to spearhead his Old Trafford attack.
The aggressive local media is delighted with the headlines in store next season with a resumption, in Manchester, of the old duels between both Mourinho and Ibra for United with City’s new own new manager, Pep Guardiola.
Mourinho largely came off worst in his clashes with Guardiola when they were in charge at Real Madrid and Barcelona while Sweden striker Ibrahimovic was scathing about the Catalan coach after their unhappy time working together at Camp Nou.
Jorge Mendes, the super-agent who represents Mourinho, has been in London discussions this week with Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman. The basic details of a contract for The Special One have been agreed, with details to be resolved over the complex issue of image rights and personal sponsorships as well as the identities of Mourinho’s support team.
One factor is certain: Mourinho will bring long-time aide Rui Faria as his assistant which means uncertainty over the future of Ryan Giggs. The former Wales winger was assistant to Louis Van Gaal.
Mourinho always values a ‘local man’ on his staff and would like Giggs to stay. However Giggs must decide whether to accept demotion or leave Old Trafford and gain managerial experience elsewhere as a possible platform to returning to United in the top job when Mourinho crashes out in his usual three years’ time.
Ibrahimovic and Mourinho worked well during their single season together at Internazionale and, since the Swede is a free agent, United would have no problem meeting his £10m-a-year demand for a one-year deal with an option for a further one-season extension. He has also apparently been promised the No9 shirt worn this past season by Antony Martial.
Even at 34 he would bring extra excitement all of his own to the Premier League. His presence would ease the pressure on teenager Marcus Rashford up front while allowing Martial to develop wide on the left of attack with captain Wayne Rooney dropping back into the No10 role.