Manchester United has held extensive talks with Jose Mourinho over an extension to his contract at Old Trafford.
Mourinho will enter the final 12 months of his existing £12 million-a-year deal this summer but Telegraph Sport understands that detailed discussions have taken place with the Portuguese and his representatives over extending that contract.
It is thought talks accelerated last month, and will continue, with United committed to securing the longer-term future of the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager.
It is unclear at this stage what the length of any new contract would be. There is an option in Mourinho’s current deal to extend by a further year to June 2020.
Reports surfaced overnight that Mourinho was considering resigning as United manager at the end of the season amid reports he is spending increasingly less time in Manchester and of strains with the Old Trafford board over transfer plans.
However, United have taken Mourinho’s eagerness to discuss a contract extension over the past month as a sign of his desire to remain at the club.
Sam Wallace Mourinho
Jorge Mendes, Mourinho’s agent, has been involved in thorough talks with Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, as they plot a way forward.
Mourinho has never stayed longer than three years at one club and, more than 19 months after his appointment as Louis van Gaal’s successor as United manager, he is still living at the Lowry hotel in Salford while his wife, Matilde, remains in London, a situation that continues to raise some eyebrows.
Mourinho won the League Cup and Europa League and secured Champions League qualification last season, his first with United, but despite currently sitting second in the Premier League, United are 15 points adrift of runaway league leaders Manchester City.
City’s success so far this season under Mourinho’s long-standing adversary Pep Guardiola has intensified the scrutiny on the United manager, who claimed recently that the £286 million the club has spent in the transfer market since he took charge was “not enough”.
Mourinho later sought to qualify his comments by insisting he could not accuse the club of failing to back him in the window and stressed it was hard to compete against the likes of City, whom he said had “no limits” to what they could spend.
But Mourinho was frustrated by United’s reluctant to meet Inter Milan’s £49 million valuation of Croatia winger Ivan Perisic last summer and a winger is thought to remain the manager’s priority in the window this month, even though he has said he doubts there will be any signings.
United also want a central midfielder, not least as Michael Carrick has played just 90 minutes of football and remained sidelined after undergoing a heart procedure, and Mourinho has encountered other problems in the position.
January 2018 transfer window
Paul Pogba was absent for 10 weeks with a torn hamstring and then missed three games through suspension after a red card against Arsenal while Marouane Fellaini has been dogged by injury since early October, since when the Belgian has made just one start and last featured on November 25. As a consequence, Nemanja Matic has been asked to play with a small injury.
United retain an interest in Tottenham left back Danny Rose but they have been impressed by Luke Shaw’s attitude and performances in recent weeks and are believed to be waiting to see how he performs over the remainder of the campaign before deciding whether they need to invest heavily in a new first-choice left back.
If Shaw convinces over the second half of the season, United could keep faith in the England defender – which would represent a huge turnaround in his fortunes under Mourinho – and instead seek to sign another young left-back, such as Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon, in the summer.