Will Jose Mourinho become Manchester United manager this summer? Some fans are certain that whether Van Gaal scrapes 4th place or not Mourinho will be taking the Old Trafford reigns this June and United will begin the resurrection to greatness we all crave.
The confidence of these fans is to be admired – although I suspect they’re staking their reputation on a 50/50 outcome and hoping for the best – because simple business sense suggests Van Gaal will be sat on his rear end for another 38 games next season.
Why? Because the numbers are stacked firmly in his favour and ridicule the notion that a deal has already been agreed with Mourinho. No agreement will be made until United’s top 4 status is determined.
And it’s that top 4 position that will decide whether we become the next Liverpool and fall in to oblivion over the next few years, or we get back on the top table where we belong. The worst case scenario for Woodward and Van Gaal, not necessarily the fans, is a failure to secure 4th place. The loss in gate receipts, prize money and commercial deals would see a revenue drop of at least 30 million pounds. In addition to that Woodward would also be forced to release his friend Van Gaal to save his own skin, who with a year left on his contract would cost a further 3-5 million if reports on his contract are to be believed.
35 million pounds down and with no Champions League football it’s only at this juncture we’d expect Woodward to go cap in hand to Mourinho. Whether Jose would relish the opportunity of taking over a club absent from the world’s top football competition that will struggle to attract the world’s best players is another matter. However, the offer of a 10 million pounds a year contract over three years and a 150 million pounds transfer fund should persuade him. And we the fans would get the appointment many of us crave.
But what if Van Gaal does manage to salvage 4th place? Suddenly Ed Woodward’s wallet isn’t feeling so light. No 30 million loss for missing out on the Champions league, no need to pay 5 million to fire his great friend Louis, and no need to spend 10 million a year on the fans choice Mourinho. 4th place from Van Gaal saves Woodward at least 45 million straight away. So why at that point would a shrewd businessmen like Woodward and the Glazer’s decide to sack the man who’s just saved them so much money for a man who will demand they spend a whole lot more? Not forgetting Van Gaal will have also delivered them a nice end of season trophy in the FA Cup.
The short answer is they won’t. Jose Mourinho may be the overwhelming fans choice and 30 years ago that may have counted for something but today football is 100% about money. And that money talks a lot louder than you or me. The harsh truth is Mourinho is highly unlikely to become Manchester United manager if Van Gaal secures Champions league football.
Which leaves the true victims in all of this, you the fans, suffering again. Do you choose Champions league football and another season of Van Gaal, or do you sacrifice it and hope the club are forced to sign Mourinho?
Personally, I go for the latter option. Short term pain for long term gain.
Just beware the so called “In The Know’s” spouting the dream of Top 4, an FA Cup and Mourinho coming in June. It’s not happening.
By Mark Goldbridge