After failing to acquire the final defensive addition that he hoped for this summer, Marca claim that Jose Mourinho could make a move for the central defender who he managed for three years at Real Madrid: Pepe. The 33-year-old is out of contract in the summer, and the Red Devils are reportedly hoping to make him an offer he can’t refuse to head to Old Trafford and reunite with his former boss and compatriot.
Pepe won Euro 2016 with his country this summer and proving that he still has the quality to play at the top level of the game.
Madrid are reluctant to let him go given their impending FIFA transfer ban due to irregularities in the registration of youth players, and are insistent that their man will sign a contract extension to keep him at the Bernabeu until 2019.
Having started and scored against Osasuna this weekend, Pepe spoke to assure fans that his loyalties lie with the Spanish club and he wishes to stay, but with renewed interest from his former manager it is unclear which option will be the more attractive to the Portuguese tough man.
Mourinho himself was in action yesterday as he spoke to the press ahead of the start of the club’s Europa League campaign kicking off with the visit of Feyenoord tomorrow evening. However, the former Champions League winner with Porto and Inter Milan spent much of the conference speaking about Europe’s most elite competition, saying:
The Champions League without Manchester United is not the Champions League and Manchester United without the Champions League is not Manchester United. So this is the first big step.
Whilst Mourinho’s ambition is to be admired, fans will be hoping that this does not just mean that the Europa League will be written off and weak line-ups will be fielded. Red Devils fans have become accustomed to mediocre football and little success in recent years and this year’s Europa League represents a real chance for victory on the European stage, even if it is not the long term goal that they would be hoping for.
Mourinho is clearly going to be aiming for Champions League football qualification at the very least this term, as would be expected, but he would be foolish to ignore the Europa League.
Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev has also hit out at the club over its treatment of loan striker Falcao during his disastrous loan spell at Old Trafford in the 2014/15 season. The Colombian suffered persistently with injury and struggled to displace Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney from the starting line-up, but the Monaco man claimed differently, saying:
Both clubs in England failed to relaunch him. I don’t know whether Manchester United and Chelsea did not have the patience or the desire to do that but I am quite sure this year we will see Falcao at his previous best. He is the same Falcao as he ever was. We’ve seen that in pre-season. He scores goals, he’s there and he is motivated, we are motivated and I think this will be his year.
With two goals in his first two games this season, the Colombian forward showed signs that his vice-president may be correct, before succumbing to injury once again as he did so often at Old Trafford.
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