Why Jose Mourinho would be perfect for Manchester United

So Jose Mourinho has announced that he is to return to England and the Premier League when he leaves Real Madrid and while he may deny that he plans to replace Sir Alex Ferguson when he eventually retires at Manchester United, consensus is growing that the “Special One” will take up the reins at Old Trafford.

Accepting Mourinho into Old Trafford would undoubtedly not be a universally popular choice. Firstly, Manchester United have long been committed to vibrant, attacking football – certainly not a style you would immediately associate with Mourinho’s teams. While the Portuguese’s philosophy has lightened somewhat at Real Madrid, it would perhaps have been difficult not to when Los Blancos can call on the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, Angel Di Maria and Karim Benzema. Additionally, Mourinho tends to disregard what has gone before him upon entering a new job, restructuring teams from top to bottom. Would fans want Mourinho to come in and completely obliterate all that Sir Alex Ferguson has left behind him simply to suit his wants and needs? And if he wasn’t allowed to, just how would Mourinho cope with this new problem in his managerial career? Indeed, we must also touch on the issues of the Glazers and their apparent financial constraints on the club. While United to do seem be alleviating this with their massive commercial contracts and having just splashed £24 million on a 29-year-old in Robin Van Persie, in recent years the club’s spending has been rather modest and Mourinho has almost always needed masses to spend wherever he’s been in order to strengthen his squad.

However, for all of those arguments, there still remains the overriding feel that of all the managers out there at the moment, Mourinho remains the best-equipped to take over the mantle from Ferguson. Firstly, there is no doubt that anyone who replaces the Scotsman needs to have broad shoulders and the character to take over from arguably the greatest manager of all time. It will be a job that would make some shrink but for Mourinho, it is a challenge that he would surely relish and rise to. Mourinho has often talked of his managerial projects as if they were simply checkpoints. England? Tick. Make Chelsea into title winners? Tick. Italy? Tick. Win the Champions League with Inter? Tick. Spain? Tick. Overcome arguably the best team of all time in Barcelona to win back La Liga for Real Madrid? Tick. The notion of possibly building upon or even improving Ferguson’s record would be the type of “tick” that would surely inspire Mourinho like no other manager.

Secondly, although it may be a controversial point, perhaps Mourinho’s destructive and short-term nature of management is exactly what is needed in the immediate aftermath of Ferguson’s departure. Mourinho often looks to buy players at the peak of their powers, squeezes every last drop out of them before moving on within two to three years and leaving behind a bedraggled outfit. Just look at the examples of Porto, Chelsea and Inter post-Mourinho as all struggled to cope with an ageing, fatigued group of players. Of course, this is hardly what Manchester United want to be left with but Mourinho does appear to have improved somewhat in this regards, with the team he is likely to leave at Real Madrid still relatively young. However, for Manchester United to hire another long-term “project” manager in the mould of say, an Andre Villas-Boas or an Ole Gunnar Solskjaer immediately after Ferguson would put immense pressure on the new man’s soldiers. Any failure would immediately be compared with Ferguson, particularly as such managers often get off to difficult and trophyless starts as they attempt to impose their new style on the squad. Mourinho however would ensure that the winning of trophies and thus continuation of Ferguson’s tradition of achievement would come above anything else. Manchester United may well be attributed to bringing in young players and to attractive football but above all else the club is summed up by it’s excellence on the football field and undoubtedly, Mourinho’s record of immediate excellence at his clubs is almost second to none.

Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, Mourinho would understand the very nature and ethos at the club. In his time at Chelsea the “Special One” had nothing but praise for the club and appears to be well aware of its standing in world as well as English football. Sir Alex Ferguson has often commented on the stature of the club that he manages and the importance in comprehending just what it means to its supporters. To have a manager in charge of United who may not completely connect to the fans or the values of the club would be suicidal to the post-Ferguson legacy. Mourinho connects with the supporters of his clubs like no other manager. At both Chelsea and Inter, the fans often still chant his name and considering that the two clubs have hardly endured complete collapse since the 49-year-old’s departure, that in itself is testament to Mourinho’s managerial class.

Adam Mazrani