There can be no doubt that José Mourinho is one of the best managers in the world and probably one of the greatest ever. Most of those who have played for him remember the experience fondly and talk about the way that he improved their game. Even rival managers admit his greatness. He often attracts attention and respect, whatever the occasion, but sometimes his upfront, stubborn nature also draws criticism and sends him into confrontation. He is something of a one-man show. Or is he?
It now seems that Manchester United officials are looking to reshuffle the managerial structure at Old Trafford in a way that is certain to have the result of diluting Mourinho’s influence and control over the happenings at the club and may even see him gone. While there’s been talk of United undergoing some sort of structural change going around for a while now, with suggestions that they will be looking to replace the single-manager system with a technical staff set up. This week has provided the strongest evidence yet that they will be going ahead with it.
News has broken that United have been in contact with some big figures on Italian club Juventus’ technical staff. The two in question are sporting director, Fabio Paratici and former chief executive Giuseppe Marotta. Both have played huge roles in securing Juventus’ remarkable success in the Serie A over the last ten years or so. They have not only made traditional on-pitch coaching decisions but have also been active on the transfer market, making them an extremely appealing duo.
With Juventus winning seven Serie A titles in a row, it is clear why the Manchester United officials are interested, but one important question still remains — what would the move mean for Mourinho? It is no secret that Mourinho and Ed Woodward, Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman have been in strong disagreement over the summer transfer period and it was looking like Mourinho might be on his way out until he pulled the 3-2 comeback against Newcastle out of the bag on Saturday.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 9, 2018
Granted, it was a close call, but the style in which Mourinho’s men came back against Newcastle was emphatic and the game plan had Mourinho stamped all over it. Furthermore, the odds of Manchester United finishing in the top four this year are still looking strong at 3.5-1, so there’s a decent argument for not changing anything at all and allowing Mourinho to get more settled into this season.
It looks clearer than ever that United — and Woodward in particular — are curious about shaking things up. It also seems as if they are close to achieving it. So, then, the question must be — at what cost? Mourinho has found success at every club he has coached at and, even if the start of this season hasn’t gone exactly to plan, the Red Devils are still very much in the running. If Saturday’s performance is anything to go by, things are getting better. Mourinho should be given space to make decisions, even if the alternative at times seems appealing.