Jose Mourinho looks set for the Old Trafford hotseat with reports emerging that Louis van Gaal is set to be axed Monday.
The Portuguese manager may have won trophies in many European leagues but has never lasted at a club longer than three years.
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ALEX REA, Reporter, SAYS YES
It’s difficult not to contemplate whether Jose Mourinho is the right fit at Old Trafford in the long run – but at this point does that even matter?
After two failed attempts at mid-tolong term appointments in David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, what United need now is a short and sharp jolt.
They require instant success and there are few managers in the game who come as close to guaranteeing a well-stocked trophy cabinet quite like the polarizing figure of Mourinho.
In 15 years of management he’s accumulated 23 pieces of silverware – that’s more than Van Gaal in 24 years,
Arsene Wenger in 27 years and Manuel Pellegrini in 28 years. He’s a serial trophyhunter.
He’s also a man with a point to prove after a disastrous final season at Chelsea damaged his reputation.
Yet he still maintains that star sway which, even with Europa League football next season, can still attract the likes of Zlatan Ibrahmiovic and crucially retain key talents like David de Gea.
Furthermore, Mourinho brings direction to a club which, for all its financial might and stature, is becoming increasingly rudderless when it comes to projecting where it will be in the next two years, nevermind the next 10. Van Gaal hankered to implement his philosophy but ultimately United lacked an identity supporters could relate to.
That’s unlikely to alter drastically with Mourinho. After all, his teams are built from the back, but that’s exactly where United are pitching from right now.
The football will not be any prettier but it will be pragmatic with the intent of yielding success. The grip on the team will be as vice-like as the Iron Tulip’s, but unlike the Dutch incumbent, Mourinho’s style actually works. The club simply needs to win and what they have in their new man is a proven winner.
Come next May you can virtually guarantee Mourinho will hold aloft a trophy and in three years the relationship may well turn sour but for now at least, United must be shortsighted and there’s no better man to provide a shortcut back to the top.
MATT JONES, Reporter, SAYS NO
Jesse Lingard’s stunning Wembley winner to claim a first FA Cup in 12 years. Anthony Martial’s 17 goals in his debut season in England. The emergence of yet another local gem in Marcus Rashford.
These are a few stellar highlights in an otherwise gloomy season for Manchester United. He may have delivered a record-equaling 12th FA Cup in his final game but fans will rejoice at the exit of Louis van Gaal and his dreaded ‘philosophy’.
The arrival of undoubted winner Jose Mourinho will, similarly, be celebrated.
But be careful what you wish for United fans. Mourinho’s ugly exit from Chelsea was evidence that he is far from infallible and of just how poisonous he can make an environment when he fails to get his way.
Van Gaal’s faith in youth during his tenure, especially this season, had been his saving grace. Under normal circumstances, with a new manager coming in and the promise of a better tomorrow, the club’s exciting youngsters should be setting the world alight next season.
Instead, history suggests the only thing getting warm will be their backsides on the Old Trafford bench. Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne are the two most high-profile names to have excelled after being ignored by Mourinho and a similarly myopic approach at Old Trafford will do the club longterm damage.
Mourinho could be forgiven slightly for snubbing youth under the impatient gaze of billionaire Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who craved instant success.
Yet, alarm bells should be sounding upon hearing that a trait of failing to give youth a chance has littered Mourinho’s management career.
He has handed first-team opportunities in the league to only 23 academy players during 15 years at Benfica, Uniao Leiria, Porto, Chelsea, Internazionale and Real Madrid.
This is not to suggest that Mourinho won’t deliver more success at United than the old Dutch master has, but it is one of their core values of trusting youth which is woven into United’s DNA that supporters should be fearing for.