Is Jose Mourinho preparing for life after Fergie at Old Trafford?

Mourinho Madrid

Is Jose Mourinho laying the groundwork to become Sir Alex Ferguson's successor at Manchester United?

Chelsea fans would love to see the 'Special One' back at the Bridge, although a certain Spanish manager and Mourinho's contract with Real Madrid stand in the way of that. You also imagine Roman Abramovich may have to make apology or two, which may not happen.

Mourinho's future at Madrid doesn't exactly scream long-term, even if he is under contract, with the Spanish champions having a reputation for hiring and firing to rival Chelsea. Vincent del Bosque was sacked just one day after winning the La Liga title in 2003.

As Mourinho said in midweek about Manchester City; "If it was Real Madrid, the press wouldn't let me return to Madrid", discussing his opponents second successive Champions League group stage exit.

In fact Mourinho has been pretty disparaging about City in recent months, ever since the draw was made, twisting the knife over their Champions League exit, and back in August describing them as a team 'without history'.

While Roberto Mancini's job will always depend on his results, and in the Premier League they remain very good, Mourinho will no doubt be touted as a successor if it goes wrong by the bookies - But realistically there is little chance of it happening.

The City fans would never accept him, he has been far more disparaging about the club than Benitez ever supposedly was about Chelsea, and he is a very unpopular man at the Etihad.

By contrast, every spiky little comment which belittles Manchester City, must go down a storm with Manchester United fans.

Mourinho has always been very respectful of Sir Alex Ferguson, and the two are good friends. With the Scotsman expected to retire at some stage over the next five years (and some have speculated it will even be at the end of this season), Mourinho will be high on the list of potential candidates to replace him.

Intriguingly, Mourinho even met up with Sir Alex Ferguson while in Manchester this week before Madrid's tie at the Etihad.

 

While we are quite sure that a succession plan probably wasn't their topic of discussion, his cordiality with United's manager can't go amiss when Sir Alex is asked for his input in who should replace him.

It's why we wonder if Mourinho's wind-up comments towards City were part of a greater plan of his. Does he see them as his next great rivals, and is just laying the groundwork for a feud to pick up where he has left off if he ends up at Manchester United?

If he one day is installed at Old Trafford, his anti-City comments will no doubt be picked up and re-quoted, giving him instant brownie points with supporters.

Whether he is the right man for the job, is a matter of interpretation. Pep Guardiola his old La Liga rival is also a contender, but perhaps Mourinho is more of a 'sure-thing' having Premier League experience, and a winner of titles in four different countries.

And the manager may have offers from other clubs, with PSG rumoured to be ready to court him if they fail to win silverware with Carlo Ancelotti this season. Even so, its an intriguing possibility, the United job will come with considerable pressure, more than any other in history perhaps. If there is anyone who can handle it, it's Jose.

Would you like to see Mourinho take over from Ferguson?

image: © apasciuto

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