Jose Mourinho is close to becoming Manchester United manager, although the appointment has been complicated by the fact former club Chelsea own the trademark to his name.
Monday brought the end of Louis van Gaal’s uncomfortable two-year residency, with last weekend’s FA Cup success not enough to mask poor Premier League performances in terms of style and substance.
Europa League rather than Champions League awaits after just missing out on the top four and Mourinho will have the task of reviving the Red Devils’ ailing fortunes.
Talks continue after his agent Jorge Mendes met executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in London on Tuesday, with intricacies such as image rights believed to be being worked on.
One issue appears to be the fact that Chelsea own the European trademark to ‘Jose Mourinho’.
European Union Intellectual Property Office records show that Chelsea Football Club Limited own the trademark for five classes of goods until March 31, 2025.
The application was filed in March 2005 and registered in April 2006, covering items varying from umbrellas to watch straps, and lingerie to talcum powders.
The trademark for Mourinho’s name with another two classes of products was registered to Chelsea Football Club Limited in November 2013, running until June 2023.
Chelsea refused to comment on the matter, but, given they retained the trademark when Mourinho managed Inter Milan and then Real Madrid, it still looks a case of when rather than if he is appointed at Old Trafford.
Mourinho called the Red Devils a “monster club” last October and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is excited by his impending arrival.
“We don’t know who will be our new manager yet, but it looks like it’s going to be an interesting derby in Manchester next season,” the Germany captain said, with Pep Guardiola arriving at the Etihad Stadium.
“The enthusiasm for football in Manchester is great and, if Mourinho does take over at United, I think all of the players want to train under him so it’s going to be quite a special season.”
Schweinsteiger is understandably excited by the future under the self-styled ‘Special One’, but also keen to express his gratitude to Van Gaal.
Brought to Old Trafford by him last summer after working together at Bayern Munich, the 31-year thanked the Dutchman for the impact he has had on his career.
“I think Louis van Gaal and I have a very special relationship,” said Schweinsteiger, speaking at a press conference in Germany’s pre-Euro 2016 training camp in Ascona, Switzerland.
“He moved me into the centre of the midfield at Bayern and I’ve got a lot to thank him for.
“Also, my move to United was because of him. I will never say any bad words about somebody for whom I have so much to thank.
“Quite the opposite. Even if we were not always of the same opinion, we had a good relationship. I admire him as a coach and, despite a difficult season with really much injury misfortune, he still ended it with a good title.
“It’s been two years since United last won a title and I think that was a good ending also for him.”
Whether the FA Cup triumph against Crystal Palace is also the end of Ryan Giggs’ United connection remains to be seen.
The position of United’s most decorated player is uncertain, with reports suggesting the former winger is considering ending his near 29-year association with the club.
Press Association Sport understands Giggs has an offer to stay on at United, although it is unclear what that role would be, having been assistant to Van Gaal.
Sources close to Gary Neville suggest the England coach and former United defender would not be interested in returning to club as part of Mourinho’s backroom team, but the incoming boss is sure to want to bring in his own men.
No confirmation on the fate of Van Gaal’s backroom team has yet been made, but it has been widely reported that assistant coaches Albert Stuivenberg and Frans Hoek, as well as performance analyst Max Reckers, have left.
They all remain listed on United’s website, though, as do training physiologist Jos van Dijk and assistant coach Marcel Bout, who specialises in opposition scouting.