The imminent appointment of Jose Mourinho as the next Manchester United manager will be of no surprise to anyone with half a brain or more. It’s been trailed for months and the news was leaked by his agent at the same time Louis van Gaal was watching his team collect the FA Cup. Not exactly classy, but then Mourinho, aside from being a top manager, is not renowned for showing class at the best of times.
This, my friends, is the Premier League – overpriced, overrated and over here. It’s the richest league in the world, it’s a pantomime and it’s a soap opera in which the big stars are the managers.
Manchester United, with their rich history of playing exciting, attacking football, with a significant smattering of young home grown players, are about to appoint a manager whose admittedly winning philosophy is rooted in defence, in safety first and in grinding out results, almost all of the players will be expensive foreign imports, ready made for the instant success owners demand. For instant success and a quick fix, Mourinho is your man.
If I was Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard or Cameron Borthwick Jackson, I’d be a worried boy. Chelsea, before Mourinho overplayed his hand, won plenty of silverware but there was no long term plan, no legacy. Young players occasionally appeared on the Chelsea bench but soon went back to the Under 21s or, more likely, other clubs. They hoovered up young talent from their own academy and took from others, but the last homegrown player to really succeed through the ranks was John Terry, who is hardly in the first flush of youth.
It is hard to see where many of United’s current squad will sit with the self-styled special one. De Gea, if he stays, will be a key player, Wayne Rooney too, but then what? A Bambi on ice centre half like Smalling, the injury prone Phil Jones or any number of bang average journeymen brought in at huge cost by van Gaal? Mourinho will be expected to win stuff straight away so it is blindingly obvious the cheque book will be out to bring in the best players money can buy.
You just know that in two years, maybe less, it will end in tears. He will leave having won things, having had numerous spats with opposing managers, players, officials and above all there will be no legacy. With Mourinho, there is never a legacy.
Manchester United,a quick fix – whoever thought that would happen? But it will happen and it will happen this week. United won’t look pretty but they will win. Is that really enough for the team that gave us Law, Best and Charlton?