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Thursday 8 December 2016

Mourinho poised to take over

Jose has 'gentleman's agreement' with Woodward to succeed LVG

Jose Mourinho attends the Serie A match between Inter Milan and Sampdoria at
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Saturday night. Photo: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images
Jose Mourinho attends the Serie A match between Inter Milan and Sampdoria at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Saturday night. Photo: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Louis van Gaal is entering the final days of his reign at Old Trafford as Jose Mourinho's move to Manchester United has drawn even closer.

Just as an FA Cup win, over Nottingham Forest, saved a struggling Alex Ferguson from the sack at United in 1990, failure to win in the Cup away to League One strugglers Shrewsbury Town tonight would surely see Van Gaal dismissed, with the axe also hanging over him in Thursday's Europa League encounter with Midtjylland where United are 2-1 down from the away leg.

The Manchester Evening News, usually well-informed on club matters, have hardly helped Van Gaal with their claim less than 24 hours before kick-off in that Cup tie at Shrewsbury tonight that Mourinho already has a "gentleman's agreement" in place with United chief Ed Woodward to bring the ex-Chelsea coach to Old Trafford, with that agreement made to prevent rival clubs from poaching Mourinho.

United officials remain hopeful that Van Gaal can stay in the job for the rest of this season to allow the Dutchman a dignified exit and clear the path for Mourinho to take over.

But defeat, or even a draw, in the Shrewsbury tie would place unimaginable pressure on Van Gaal to overturn that 2-1 deficit at home to the Danes on Thursday night but Harry Redknapp last night commented that staying on "seems to be a case of simply delaying the inevitable for Van Gaal".

Mourinho was welcomed by officials and supporters of Inter Milan when he attended his former club's Serie A game over the weekend.

Ruling out a return to Inter, he said: "Right now I have respect for every coach at every club. I'm not looking for a club, but there are clubs that are looking for me".

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