ZIZOU STILL LURKING
It seems that many a Sunday newspaper were banking on a rather different result at Old Trafford, because they all offer a relatively bleak outlook for Jose Mourinho’s future. The Sunday Mirror go as far as to say that Zinedine Zidane ‘has been asked to snub all job offers’ as Manchester United contemplate whether or not to get rid of the Portuguese.
Saturday’s win over Newcastle certainly prompts more questions than it answers. And many of those questions revolve around Zidane, who John Richardson says has been asked to turn any approaches from other sides down. That’s an awful lot to ask of an unemployed man.
As Richardson points out, ‘United have used the same tactics before’ in terms of having someone on standby to be appointed. Mourinho was in the same position as Zidane when Louis van Gaal’s job was under immense threat.
So Zidane ‘is waiting in the wings’. But United might be reluctant to get rid of Mourinho. After all, they ‘face shelling out £29million’ if they were to do so now.
The Sunday Mirror are back with this claim, which says Mourinho will demand his contract is paid up in full if he is sacked. Obviously. And with that deal running until June 2020, as well as ‘built-in loyalty payments, signing fees and other agreements’, that bill would stretch to £29m. That would make him the 13th most expensive signing in United history.
There is some good news. If United give Mourinho until the end of the season, and he cannot deliver Champions League qualification, he would be due £10m less. Which still seems like loads, considering he would have failed miserably, and United would be further punished by not being in a lucrative tournament the following year.
According to the Daily Star, Lyon ‘have slapped a £70m valuation’ on the midfielder who dominated in the 2-1 Etihad win last month. Ndombele is very, very highly rated, and was a potential alternative target when City wanted Jorginho in the summer.
They opted to sign just one first-team player, with Riyad Mahrez arriving for a club-record £60m fee. It will require another jump to get in Ndombele, but Pep Guardiola wants midfield cover as Fernandinho enters his mid-30s. Frenkie de Jong and Ruben Neves are also on their radar.