Mourinho to United: A win-win?

”I guess I’m not doing fine’ – Osaka on being world no.1

It seems like Jose Mourinho may come out smiling regardless of whether or not he becomes Manchester United manager, if reports in the Spanish press are to be believed.

Spain’s El País has reported that the former Chelsea boss has already signed a pre-contract agreement with the Red Devils which, if all goes according to plan, will see him take over from Louis van Gaal ahead of the 2016/17 season.

However, there is a catch.

While United appear eager to hire the 53-year-old, who has been without a post since being fired by the Blues in December, they reserve the right to change their mind. It will be an expensive It will be an expensive U-turn though, with Mourinho reportedly in line to receive up to £15million in compensation if he doesn’t sign a permanent deal with the club before June 1.

“If United do not sign the final contract [with Mourinho] before 1 May, they must pay £5m; if by 1 June he’s still not signed, they shall pay another £10m,” read the report. “May is the key, because it’s the month in which the vast majority of the signings of players are closed and the plans formed.”

United’s 1-0 victory over Manchester City in Sunday’s derby may have propelled them back into contention for a berth in the Champions League, but a top-four finish could have the Old Trafford accounts department feeling a little nervous, as parting with Van Gaal may not be such a formality after all.

Speaking of Van Gaal, the Dutchman signed a three-year contract when he arrived in Manchester as David Moyes’ replacement ahead of the 2014/15 campaign, and so still has a year to run on his original deal. Whether he will see out the final 12 months remains to be seen.

While United have largely failed to impress this term despite a big summer spending spree, City’s late-season stumble has opened the door for them to sneak into next season’s Champions League.