Have Jose Mourinho and Manchester United agreed to a deal? The manager thinks so. That and more from the Monday papers.
Mourinho believes he has gentleman's agreement with United
Jose Mourinho thinks he will be the next manager of Manchester United. The Manchester Evening News claim that the Portuguese thinks he has "a gentleman's agreement" with United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to take over at the club. It's just a matter of when Mourinho takes over at this point. Mourinho's agent wants his client to become the Red Devils' manager immediately, but Woodward doesn't want to sack Van Gaal in the middle of the season and would prefer for Mourinho to take the post in the summer.
Paper Round's view: All signs point to Mourinho being United's next manager. It really does look like simply sorting out whether he takes the job this season or waits for the summer. If the two sides have already agreed to a deal and they're haggling over timing, that wouldn't be the least bit surprising. Of course, gentleman's agreements aren't finalised deals and things can always change, but it's pretty clear what the most likely scenario is.
Mourinho isn't going to spend the summer waiting on Manchester United. The Guardian understand that he expects to be the Red Devils' manager as soon as the season ends and if he has not been offered the job by then, he will begin to look at other options. The Portuguese has no intention of being left waiting all summer as United figure out what they want to do. If they're not ready to give him the job at the start of the off-season then he will turn his attention elsewhere.
Out-of-work manager Jose Mourinho believes he is a wanted man
Image credit: PA Sport
Paper Round's view: Mourinho obviously had an ugly ending at Chelsea, but he's still a top manager and will be in demand. He doesn't have to wait on Manchester United and, frankly, if they're not sure whether to fire Van Gaal by the end of the season with a clear plan on where to move then they are probably too inept for Mourinho. Inter Milan will probably see if Mourinho wants to return, while several other clubs will chase him so there's no reason for him to wait and wait for Woodward to make the call. Either the Red Devils want him or not.
Wayne Rooney has no interest in joining the Chinese Super League until at least 2018, per The Sun. Rooney wants to stay at Manchester United and has his sights on setting the club's goalscoring record. His contract at Old Trafford runs for another three years and while he's not committed to seeing it out, he is intent on spending at least two more years at the club. Only in 2018 will be think about taking China's giant pay day and jumping from Man United.
Image credit: Reuters
Paper Round's view: It would be tough to blame Rooney for taking the money from China, but that doesn't necessarily make it the right move for him. Only he could say what matters most to him, what his priorities are at this point in his life and whether he would be happy in China. If he wants to stay at Old Trafford and chase Bobby Charlton's record, more power to him. But it will be interesting to see if his opinion changes at all should he fall from United's first choice team.
Manchester United want to bring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Old Trafford regardless of who their manager is, according to The Independent. The Red Devils are hoping to get a deal done for £60m. The club have been hesitant about signing African players before because they weren't keen on losing them for the Africa Cup of Nations every two years, but they're more willing to sign top players from the continent now. There will be a lot of competition for Aubameyang and United are trying to get a leg up on the competition by starting their pursuit early.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, BVB
Image credit: AFP
Paper Round's view: Borussia Dortmund are a fine club and they don't need to sell their best players, but they have shown in the past that they are willing to do so when big offers come in. £60m is definitely a big offer and may compel BVB to part with their star striker. He's versatile enough that he can be signed regardless of manager and the Red Devils could use more help up front. Of course they could use more help in a lot of spots and they better be focused on rounding out their squad instead of finding a star or two.
Laurent Depoitre is a target for a slew of clubs, but The Mirror say that Spurs are the leaders in the race to sign him. Seven Premier League clubs are scouting the Gent striker, whose contract at the Belgian club expires next summer. It looks like a certainty that he will be sold after the season, when Tottenham are hoping to add some depth to their striker corps and they are willing to go forward with a £12m move.
Image credit: AFP
Paper Round's view: Tottenham do need more strikers if they make the Champions League for next season. They have little behind Harry Kane. Usually they opt for Nacer Chadli or Son Heung-min out-of-position, but while that may be good enough for the Europa League, it won't in better competitions. That means having someone besides Kane that they can turn to in the Champions League or someone they are comfortable with in the Premier League so Kane can feature on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Depoitre would fit the bill, as he is not spectacular, but proven to be dependable.