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Mourinho, Guardiola pose job threat to rivals
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 24 - 12 - 2015

It's like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo becoming available for absolutely nothing while still coveted stars of the game. But this is all happening off the field.
Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, two of soccer's shrewdest minds and most successful coaches, are available — one right now, one at the end of the season — with no compensation fees required to buy them out of their contracts.
They are for hire in contrasting circumstances but surely no less desirable.
Mourinho's reputation has been bruised by being fired for a second time by Chelsea. Guardiola is opting to walk away from Bayern Munich at the end of the season, leaving on his own terms in June just as he did at Barcelona.
Their availability will put fear into current coaches at Europe's leading clubs whose jobs just became a lot less secure.
For an owner in need of a quick fix, Mourinho is immediately available and the next major vacancy could well be at Manchester United.
Louis van Gaal has faced the wrath of United fans during a six-game winless run which includes embarrassing losses in succession to Premier League newcomers Bournemouth and Norwich. Lose again at Stoke Saturday and his position could look even weaker.
Mourinho and United sometimes seems a match destined to happen. For a club fixated on amassing commercially appealing players, who better to occupy the dugout than one of its biggest characters who brings a track record of glory?
Now Mourinho could be the manager required to deliver that much-needed adrenalin shot to a disjointed United squad, which has crashed out of the Champions League in the group stage after only just rejoining Europe's elite.
Mourinho's desire to prowl the touchline again seemed clear at the weekend. The 52-year-old Portuguese is remaining in London, with a statement from his management company emphasizing: "He will not be taking a sabbatical, he isn't tired, he doesn't need it."
United has not made an official offer to Mourinho so far, according to the Portuguese manager's agent Jorge Mendes.
"There is nothing. We don't know what will happen in the future, but now there is no agreement. There isn't an official proposal either," British media quoted Mendes as telling Globo Esporte.
Mourinho's next employer will be hoping his final months at Chelsea were an aberration from a previously strong coaching career.
Perhaps Real Madrid will decide that Rafa Benitez's rift with the fans is so great that it's worth bringing back the often-criticized Mourinho. But that could deny English football a potentially explosive crosstown managerial crosstown rivalry — by reuniting Mourinho and Guardiola in the same leagues.
Even before Bayern Munich announced Sunday that Guardiola would be leaving at the end of the season, the 44-year-old former Barcelona coach was already being linked with the Manchester City job still occupied by Manuel Pellegrini.
Pellegrini can hardly complain if his successor has already been lined up as he had been approached before the firing of Roberto Mancini, who had himself been lined up when Mark Hughes was dismissed in a chaotic coaching change at City.
It is the Champions League acumen of two-time winners Mourinho and Guardiola that is most in demand at clubs.
Premier League clubs are not viewed as a first-choice destination for stars at their peak.
But with Juergen Klopp a recent arrival at Liverpool — and Diego Simeone linked with the Chelsea vacancy from next season — Mourinho finding another job in the Premier League and Guardiola making his debut would show that English coaching roles at least are still attractive to managers.


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