Football rumours: Zidane to take over from Mourinho at Manchester United?

Barry Glendenning on 1 October 2018

Another weekend, another poor Manchester United performance and inevitably – and yes, we’re bored too – another raft of speculation regarding the mushroom cloud gradually forming in the sky over Old Trafford. Since last we met, Manchester United had their collective derrière handed to them by West Ham at the London Stadium, prompting more hand-wringing, chuntering and speculation over what’s going on and what’s likely to happen next. A little under a month ago, José Mourinho said he didn’t think he was in danger of losing his job and joked that it would cost United too much money to sack him, but now he is reported to be convinced his employers have sounded out Zinedine Zidane as a potential successor behind his back. The former Real Madrid manager is currently out of work, but is understood to be mulling over an offer to become technical director at Juventus. As expected, United have dismissed as nonsense the very notion that Zidane has been approached.

While securing his own future (or lucrative pay-off) is likely to be Mourinho’s primary concern, the confident 55-year-old is also fed up with the negligible contribution Alexis Sánchez has made to his squad since joining from Arsenal in January. The Chilean, who trousers £500,000 per week at United, is reported to have been furious at being left out of United’s squad on Saturday and is said to have told his former Arsenal teammate, the West Ham striker Lucas Pérez, that he regrets joining the club.

In pointed post-match comments on the subject of his decision to pick Anthony Martial ahead of Sánchez, Mourinho appeared to not only question Sánchez’s lack of “genuine humility”, but did so with an almost endearing and total lack of self-awareness. Mourinho is ready to offload Sánchez, but will almost certainly face resistance from employers who will struggle to find anyone to match the playmaker’s wages and may have already decided that cutting their manager loose is an easier option.

With just one goal to his name so far this season, Álvaro Morata may be moved on from Stamford Bridge in January if Chelsea can find somebody interested in his services and willing to pay his £140,000 per week wages. His former club Juventus have been mentioned as one potential destination, while both Inter and Milan expressed interest in bringing him back to Italy during the summer.

Following the news that Aaron Ramsey will not be offered a new contract by Arsenal, Liverpool are being mooted as potential suitors, while other gossips would have you believe Manchester City might break the world transfer record to bring Kylian Mbappé to the Etihad from Paris Saint-Germain.

Elsewhere, John Terry is rumoured to be reconsidering his decision not to sign for Spartak Moscow after being pictured at their 1-0 defeat by Rostov in the Russian capital on Sunday. The former Chelsea skipper was also spotted enjoying some Ryder Cup action in Paris on Friday, but it is not clear whether he intends to compete on the US or European Tour.

And finally, expect Unhappy Meals all round at the Newcastle branch of McDonald’s, now it has emerged skinflint owner Mike Ashley intends to bring his disaffected Newcastle squad and their manager Rafael Benítez out for a meal and accompanying peace talks. The Newcastle owner and his manager haven’t spoken to each other for four months, according the Newcastle Chronicle, but may break bread in the coming days.

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