There are claims, there is endless speculation and there is somewhat shameless begging, but I hope Jose Mourinho is comfortable at Real Madrid, because I’m sure he will be there for some time.
Sir Alex Ferguson is adamant that he’ll be at the helm of Manchester United until his health knocks him off his perch and when that time comes, I’m certain that the self-proclaimed “Special One” will be at the unfortunate end of world football’s biggest snub.
It’s no secret that the Manchester United hierarchy are picking their brains trying to find a manager brazen enough, man enough and most importantly, good enough, to step into the famous shoes of arguably the game’s best manager. There’s also an understanding that the man himself, Sir Alex Ferguson, will have his say on who should take the helm.
Now, there no questioning Jose Mourinho’s sparkling credentials. He is indeed a fantastic manager. He’s won the Champions League twice with two different clubs and he’s managed some of Europe’s most elite clubs, guiding each of them to varying successes (speaking of just Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, not yet Real Madrid).
Not only has he managed some of the elite clubs, but he’s beaten his fair share of them as well. So naturally, one would link Mourinho to the soon-to-be vacant hot seat at Old Trafford. Of course, his known admiration of Ferguson and his neurotic desire to one day take over from him has fueled speculation that he would indeed get the nod. But here’s why realistically, he won’t:
- Contrasting styles of play between Ferguson and Mourinho
Both managers get the desired results almost all of the time, but their way of getting the points are visibly different. Ferguson has established fluent, attacking football as a trademark of Manchester United. The silky touches and the bedazzling moves in and around the final third make the crowd “Ooh” and “Ahh” in jubilation.
A lot of the goals United score and the build-up play leading to the goals leave those in view in sheer amazement. In stark contrast, Mourinho’s tactical approach leans toward the defensive side. Although his teams get the job done, their way of going about it is more likely to make you yawn than applaud in ecstasy.
No doubt Ferguson would like the fluent, attacking football to continue in his absence and thus, Mourinho isn’t the best fit to continue that trait. You can mark Mourinho down as having zero for one.
- Ferguson wants someone who will do things HIS way even when he’s gone
Have you been noticing the type of signings that Ferguson has been making recently? He has been planning for the future. He is preparing the club for an upcoming transitional period.
Speculation continues to point towards the Glazers as the influence behind the lack of high profile signings, but given the exorbitant amount of money being spent on youngsters these days, most notably the 7.4 million pounds splashed on the unknown Bebe, one has to reasonably concede that money is in fact at Ferguson’s disposal and that Ferguson has made the decision to buy young players.
One can thus deduce that Ferguson wants the club to continue along the path on which he put them. He has an established style of play that he wants the club to continue playing and he wants certain players at the club. Should Mourinho take the helm, knowing him, he would look to do things his own way and that would undermine everything that Ferguson has worked so hard for.
I don’t think he would let that happen. I think that whoever Ferguson sanctions as his successor would know and appreciate the club’s history and would continue to enforce the philosophies that he worked so hard to etch into the club and its players. That person is NOT Mourinho. With that said, you can mark Mourinho down as having zero for two.
- Ferguson is looking for someone dedicated and loyal
Ferguson has been at the club for over twenty-four years. The signings that he’s been making of late indicate that he wants a manager who is going to be in the job for the long haul so that he can properly develop these young players. Mourinho is not the type of manager who sticks around at a club. As soon as he wins all there is to win with a club, he is on the lookout for his next job.
He may currently be the Real Madrid manager, but he is already talking about one day managing the Portugal national team. So, there is no guarantee that if given the job at United that he’ll stay for more than a few years.
Ferguson is looking for someone to stay a little longer than that. With that said, you can mark Mourinho down as having zero for three. Thus, Mourinho is NOT the best candidate to replace Ferguson.
So, if Mourinho isn’t the one to take over from Sir Alex Ferguson, then who is? Indeed, the perfect successor who knows the history of the club and would continue to enforce his mentor’s philosophies, including that of playing fluent attacking football, is already at the club. Who is this? I’m talking about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He has proven to be an unmitigated success thus far as Manchester United’s Reserve team manager. One can argue that taking charge of Manchester United is a big job and that he is not yet ready or that there are better options worth considering, but I’m sure the same things were said when a certain Pep Guardiola was promoted from the similar position of Reserve team manager at Barcelona.
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Guardiola silenced his critics with a six-trophy haul in his first season in charge. Given what Solskjaer has achieved thus far, I don’t see why he can’t have a similar impact if given the job as Manchester United manager.
Looking at the recent signings made, it’s clear that Ferguson is concerned about preparing the team to have a bright future long after he’s gone. Could it be that he is grooming the team for Solskjaer? We won’t know for sure until the dreaded day comes when Ferguson steps down from his post. Certainly though, don’t rule out the possibility.