Van Gaal gets to keep his job for now because Mourinho doesn't want it, while Chelsea have their new manager. That and more from the Wednesday papers.
Mourinho won't take over United this season
Jose Mourinho will not be Manchester United's manager in the next few weeks or months. The Mirror understand that the Portuguese has made it clear to the Red Devils bosses that he does not want to take over until June. By waiting, Mourinho will be able to start rebuilding the squad in the summer and get an entire pre-season to mould the squad. As a result, Louis van Gaal will get to finish the season with United, but come the summer, Mourinho is expected to take over with a £15 million-per-year contract in tow.
Paper Round's view: There's little for Mourinho to gain by taking over now, unless he thinks he can get the team to the top four or is desperate to get back into management. Odds are, neither is the case, so waiting until the summer is probably smart. There is little to salvage this season and having an entire summer to go about changing everything - from the players, to the culture, to the tactics - beats trying to do it on the fly mid-season.
Antonio Conte has agreed in principle to be the next manager of Chelsea and the deal could be announced as soon as next month, according to The Mirror. Conte's contract with Italy expires after the Euros, clearing the way for him to join Chelsea. The Blues originally wanted Max Allegri, who succeeded Conte at Juventus, but The Old Lady refused to let him leave. Conte has already begun learning English to prepare for his move to Stamford Bridge.
Italy's coach Antonio Conte
Image credit: AFP
Paper Round's view - Conte would be a nice hire by Chelsea. He's proven himself in Serie A, helping create this Juventus powerhouse, and Italy have been much better off since he took over the Azzurri. He's had no problems dealing with big personalities and has shown that he can rebuild clubs. He may not be the sexiest hire, but there aren't a lot of sexy hires for them to make. That he's out of contract in the summer and they can appoint him early is a bonus.
Chelsea are in talks with Willian about a new contract that would pay him £120,000-per-week, per The Mail. Willian has been one of the Blues' best players this season and the club want to make sure he is going to stay heading into a summer when several stars could leave Stamford Bridge. Eden Hazard could leave for Real Madrid or PSG, Diego Costa has been linked to a Atletico Madrid return, Thibaut Courtois could be on the way out and even Nemanja Matic may want a new start. With those departures potentially looming in the future, Chelsea want assurances that Willian will be at the club next season.
Willian celebrates after scoring the second goal for Chelsea
Image credit: Reuters
Paper Round's view: Willian has been nothing short of sensational this season and the club's most dangerous attacker. They can't afford to let him go and he has shown that he wants to stay so the Blues are smart to tie him down while they can. With the way Willian has played, he's worth more than £120,000-per-week. Odds are he won't continue to play this well, but it's still a good bit of business and especially when you consider the state of the club.
Manchester United's struggles have led Manchester United to seek out a new director to aid executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. The Sun claim that the Red Devils would like to bring JD Sports chief Peter Cowgill into the fold as a chairman to help the club. Cowgill is a huge supporter of the club and rarely misses a home match. He is also friends with Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill, who remain club directors. With his business acumen from JD Sports and experience, the club think he would be a wise addition.
Manchester United director Sir Bobby Charlton (L), executive vice chairman Ed Woodward and co owner Avram Glazer (R) in the stands before the match
Image credit: Reuters
Paper Round's view: With the way Woodward has struggled since taking over the club, anything to provide him some help is a plus. The management of Manchester United has been abysmal and they need to make changes as soon as possible. Cowgill has experience and a good relationship with adidas from his time at JD Sports. That doesn't necessarily mean he will make a good director, but there's reason to believe he will and, at the very least, hiring him would show that the club realise there need to be changes well beyond the team's manager.
Sunderland could go to Ligue 1 for help in defence. The Mail say that the Black Cats are keeping an eye on Adama Soumaoro and could make a move for him in the summer as Sam Allardyce looks to make changes to his aging back line. Allardyce has seen his defence struggle and they have been hurt by injuries. Soumaoro isn't just relatively young at 23 years old, but he is also capable of playing across the defence, which Sunderland like.
Lille's French defender Adama Soumaoro (L) vies for the ball with Paris Saint-Germain's Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani
Image credit: AFP
Paper Round's view - Soumaoro would be an excellent addition to the Sunderland back four. The Black Cats certainly need improvements and Soumaoro's versatility would make a world of a difference. He also wouldn't be too expensive, making a deal very much realistic. Of course, signing him is dependent on Sunderland avoiding the drop because he's not leaving Lille for a second division side.