Jose Mourinho was paid a moerse £4million by Manchester United |not to take another job while they decided the future of Louis van Gaal.
An agreement was reached midway through the season to give United the option of bringing him in if Van Gaal failed to qualify for next year’s Champions League.
The club wanted to keep the agreement with the Special One secret from Van Gaal, who was his boss at Barcelona, but by yesterday United bosses were left red-faced by their own goal.
The fact Van Gaal knew he had lost his job within minutes of winning Saturday’s FA Cup final is considered by senior figures as more swak than the departure of David Moyes, who learned of his own dismissal from media reports before CEO Ed Woodward had the chance to tell him personally.
Mourinho’s appointment, which is expected to be confirmed in the next 24 hours, was not leaked by United this time, but Woodward will face questions about how Van Gaal’s success was spoiled so publicly.
The relationship between Van Gaal and his players had become fractured.
Van Gaal’s insistence on playing boring football became a problem for the flair players, with one senior pro telling the Dutchman he intended to play his natural game because following orders would result in him being dropped again.
United’s Player of the Year David de Gea would have asked to leave Old Trafford had Van Gaal been allowed to remain in charge for a third season.
Some of the players would like Mourinho to shake things up a little.
Also last night, the future of assistant coach Ryan Giggs was still unclear.
The Red Devils’ record appearance maker is said to be disappointed at being given the top job.
The players would like Giggs to stay, given the central role he plays and his status at the club.
Woodward, it is understood, met Mourinho in London on Monday with a view to confirming the appointment tomorrow.
Mourinho has already identified the players he wants to sign ahead of his arrival, with 23-year-old Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Mario one of his principal targets.