Jose Mourinho has signed a pre-contract agreement with Manchester United with a view to replacing Louis van Gaal as manager of the English giants next season, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on Sunday.
Citing sources from Gestifute, the agency company owned by Mourinho’s representative Jorge Mendes, El Pais suggest a deal has been struck that could see the former Chelsea manager make £15 million (Dh79.7m), even if he doesn’t end up taking charge at Old Trafford.
If United don’t complete the deal by May 1, Mourinho will be entitled to £5 million compensation, should negotiations drag on beyond June 1 or break down, the 20-time English champions would owe the Portuguese a further £10 million.
The El Pais report runs under a headline that reads, roughly, “Mourinho wagers on United and is away from Madrid” and goes on to say “everyone agrees” the Portuguese has a hard deal in place with the club.
“Agents near to the English club,” the report says, “said the document attached to United and Mourinho is a common legal instrument in the football industry”.
United “guarantee the right to gain technical services for future seasons while Mourinho ensures the payment” if United never commit to formally hiring him.
The report notes such an arrangement indicates elements in the United leadership structure still “harbour doubts” about Mourinho and maintain “a margin to probe the market for other alternatives”.
The report notably goes on to assert Real Madrid officials have been trying for months “to lay the groundwork for an agreement” with Mourinho’s agent Jorge Mendes. In trying to pursue Mourinho, Madrid club officials discovered “his rights have belonged to United since February”.
Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in December after losing nine out the first 16 games of their Premier League defence.
“I look forward to the future,” Mourinho told BT Sport this week.
“I want my football back, time flies and July will be just around the corner.”
Van Gaal is under mounting pressure if he is to see out the final season of a three-year deal he signed in 2014.
United were dumped out of the Europa League by bitter rivals Liverpool 3-1 on aggregate on Thursday and face an uphill battle to make it into next season’s Champions League via a top-four finish in the Premier League.
They currently sit sixth in the table, four points behind Manchester City in fourth, ahead of their trip to City later on Sunday.