Jose Mourinho’s sacking by Chelsea last week coupled with the continued bad form of Manchester United, managed by one of the Portuguese manager’s coaching mentors Louis van Gaal, has led to rampant speculation that the Red Devils will soon make a change. Mourinho has made it clear he has no intention of taking a sabbatical from management and that his preferred destination remains in England. “English football is my football,” he has long proclaimed. While the homecoming at Chelsea did not go completely to plan, he remains a desirable figure even an enchanted one throughout much of the country.
Some sources in England have indicated Manchester United may strike while the iron is hot, giving van Gaal just one or two matches to turn around the Red Devils’ season. The change in direction from United would appear a panic move considering the club remains just a few points behind most likely title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal. Of course, elimination from the UEFA Champions League in a group that was by most objective standards the softest drawn by an English club has hurt van Gaal’s case for retention. More importantly van Gaal’s Red Devils side has failed to play the type of eye-catching, attractive soccer Manchester United fans both in Northwest of England and around the globe have long craved.
Even when results were satisfactory earlier in the season, United was far from convincing. As a steward of a global brand, Chief Executive Ed Woodward is conscious of both the financial implications of potentially falling out of UEFA Champions League contention for next season as well the impact from a perception standpoint of the club’s stature. More important from a global marketing standpoint, Bayern Munich seems to have replaced Manchester United as the third wheel so to speak of the global triumvirate of super-clubs where Barcelona and Real Madrid’s positions are secure. Woodward is tasked by the US-based Glazer family who owns the club to keep United among the elite globally, and thus he might feel impulsive when it comes to dealing with van Gaal’s failings.
But Jose Mourinho would be the absolute wrong choice for the Red Devils. One of van Gaal’s major accomplishments in his short time at Old Trafford has been a willingness to blood let younger players whose futures are critical for the club to continue to compete at a high level. The Dutch manager has also cleared out dead wood from the squad in an aggressive manner.