Manchester United wanted Jose Mourinho to replace Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013 but the Portuguese had already agreed to return to Chelsea.
The Red Devils turned to David Moyes after Ferguson’s retirement, with the club claiming the former Everton boss was hand-picked to follow in his fellow Scot’s footsteps.
But a report in the Daily Mail claims Mourinho was man United wanted, and Ed Woodward flew to Madrid in April 2013 to meet the manager, who was then in charge of Real Madrid.
A meeting is said to have taken place in the back of a people carrier outside the Vicente Calderon where Mourinho’s Madrid were taking on cross-city rivals Atletico.
Real won the April 27 derby, 12 days before Ferguson’s retirement was confirmed by United, who targeted Moyes after Mourinho informed Woodward that he had already accepted an offer from Chelsea to return to Stamford Bridge.
The Daily Mail claims:
“Mourinho was open to the idea and had prepared himself for life in Manchester as he came to the end of his spell in Spain.
However, the intervention of Chelsea and Roman Abramovich scuppered United’s plans. Mourinho, 53, values loyalty highly and felt that by returning to west London he was doing the honourable thing.”
Moyes lasted less than a season at Old Trafford, despite being given a six-year contract when he arrived from Everton.