Back in 2013, when Sir Alex Ferguson dropped the bombshell that he was going to retire after 27 years in charge at Old Trafford, there were only a handful of names mooted as his potential replacement.
In fact, there only ever seemed to be two serious contenders – David Moyes and Jose Mourinho.
We all know how that one ended.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and we now know that the reason Mourinho didn’t make the move to Manchester United was not because United didn’t want him, or the Portuguese didn’t want to go, but because the ‘Special One’ had already accepted a job offer from his former employer, Roman Abramovich.
When Moyes was unveiled at Old Trafford, and Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, it very much seemed as if that was it for the ‘match made in heaven’, that there would be no chance for Mourinho to ever be the Manchester United manager.
A lot changes in two and a half years.
Fast forward a couple of seasons, and not only is Mourinho available, but it also seems extremely likely that there may be a vacant hot-seat opening up at Old Trafford imminently.
Back to 2013. Before the Moyes announcement, and as we all speculated about Mourinho going to United, the footballing fraternity was pretty much unanimously declaring the potential move as one that ‘made sense’.
Mourinho was a ruthless winner; United were the most successful team in English history. Mourinho loved a glass of red; so did Ferguson.
In fact, the burgeoning friendship that developed between Ferguson and Mourinho was one of the key reasons why it seemed so likely that the former Chelsea man would make the move north.
Obviously it didn’t happen, but when one examines the situation now, it is difficult to look past the fact that both Mourinho and United would be a perfect fit for each other.
United have forgotten how to win. They’ve stagnated under Louis van Gaal and need some sort of transformation if they are to return to the upper echelons of European football. The Moyes season was written off as an anomaly, but the reality is that van Gaal has spent a couple of hundred million on his squad and not fared much better than the Scot.
Something big needs to happen at Old Trafford, and it is looking more and more likely that Mourinho is the one to provide it.
From Mourinho’s point of view, a job offer from United would be an ideal opportunity to get straight back in the ring. But not only that, he would be heading to a club that has so much potential.
Insiders suggest that the Portuguese has always wanted to be Manchester United manager, and the idea of coming in and elevating them from where they are now is no doubt an idea that will appeal to Mourinho’s sense of self worth.
For Louis van Gaal, every game from now on is a must-win game, but the reality is that even if he does win a few games now, only an alternative job offer for Mourinho will remove the shadow that currently resides over the Dutchman.