MANCHESTER UNITED can get rid of Jose Mourinho on the cheap this season – if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.
Manchester United are floundering this season under the Portuguese.
Mourinho won the Carabao Cup and Europa League in his first campaign in charge and steered the Manchester giants to second place last term.
But they are well of the pace this time around, lying a lowly eighth in the table.
A top-four place will prove tricky to get, with United already eight points off Chelsea after 15 games.
Not qualifying for the Champions League could cost Mourinho his job.
And according to rumors it would also mean his payoff from the club is vastly reduced.
They report there is a clause in the ex-Chelsea and Inter Milan manager’s deal that means his compensation package will be cheaper if they don’t secure a place in Europe’s elite competition for next season.
Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, is said to be their top pick to replace Mourinho, although Real Madrid may also try and nab the Argentine.
Mourinho may be struggling to win over his critics at Old Trafford but he has a fan in new Fulham boss Claudio Ranieiri.
Italian Ranieri takes his side, currently bottom of the Premier League, to United on Saturday and said he is looking forward to renewing his friendship with the man who replaced him as Chelsea manager in 2004.
Ranieri, back in the English top flight for the first time since parting ways with Leicester City in 2017 having taken them to a fairytale title, said Mourinho was the first manager to welcome him back.
“He was the first who sent me a message to say welcome back. He is a very friendly friend. He told me, ‘welcome back, all the best’. We speak about everything,” Ranieri told reporters.
“It was a text message. Sometimes we speak. He’s a fantastic man. I know him for a long time, when he came to Chelsea and in Italy, and he was very polite with me. He’s a great man, coach, manager and also the football is important.”
Ranieri believes they are improving although he will be hoping to add to Mourinho’s woes at the weekend.
“I think Manchester United are getting better,” he said. “For us, it will be difficult. We have to make a perfect performance. Manchester United are one of the best teams in the Premier League, also in the Champions League they made a very good job. It’s a fantastic team, a fantastic team.
“We want to make a point there. We know it’s hard but nothing is impossible.”