Jose Mourinho is close to becoming Manchester United manager, but the appointment has been held up by negotiations over image rights.
Monday brought the end of Louis van Gaal’s uncomfortable two-year residency, with last weekend’s FA Cup success not enough to save the Dutchman after United missed out on a Champions League place.
Mourinho is expected to be named as Van Gaal’s replacement, but it has emerged that Chelsea own the European trademark to ‘Jose Mourinho’, holding up the deal.
Talks between his agent, Jorge Mendes, and United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward will continue for a third day in London on Thursday, but an agreement is ultimately expected to be met.
European Union Intellectual Property Office records show that Chelsea Football Club Limited own the trademark for five classes of goods until March 31, 2025.
The application was filed in March 2005 and registered in April 2006, covering items varying from umbrellas to watch straps, and lingerie to talcum powders.
The trademark for Mourinho’s name with another two classes of products was registered to Chelsea Football Club Limited in November 2013, running until June 2023.
Chelsea refused to comment on the matter, but, given they retained the trademark when Mourinho managed Inter Milan and then Real Madrid, it still looks a case of when rather if he is appointed at Old Trafford.
Whether the FA Cup triumph against Crystal Palace is also the end of Ryan Giggs’ United connection remains to be seen.
The position of United’s most decorated player is uncertain, with reports suggesting the former winger is considering ending his near 29-year association with the club having been offered a reduced role under Mourinho.
Sources close to Gary Neville suggest the England coach and former United defender would not be interested in returning to club as part of Mourinho’s backroom team, but the incoming boss is sure to want to bring in his own men.
No confirmation on the fate of Van Gaal’s backroom team has yet been made, but it has been widely reported that assistant coaches Albert Stuivenberg and Frans Hoek, as well as performance analyst Max Reckers, have left.
They all remain listed on United’s website, though, as do training physiologist Jos van Dijk and assistant coach Marcel Bout, who specialises in opposition scouting.