Gossip: Zidane 'tops Man United wish list' if Mourinho leaves, Chelsea's woes continue with Willian drama

Manchester United reportedly want Zinedine Zidane to replace Jose Mourinho if he leaves the club.
Manchester United reportedly want Zinedine Zidane to replace Jose Mourinho if he leaves the club.

Difficult Second Album Syndrome has been the scourge of many pop stars, from the Strokes to Terence Trent D’Arby to Manchester United’s very own Stone Roses.

But the Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho suffers from a slightly different condition: Difficult Third Season Syndrome.

It’s happened at Chelsea (twice) and at Real Madrid, and now United are reportedly worried they will be the next victims – with the Special One’s pre-season meltdown doing little to ease their concerns.

So according to the Sun, they are lining up to replace Mourinho the man who just had the best Difficult Third Season in history – Zinedine Zidane.

The Real Madrid legend was having a bit of a nightmare last term until he wrapped up a campaign of ineptitude with a glorious Champions League triumph – his third in row.

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As such his reputation remains intact, if not enhanced, and he finds himself “top of the list” of men United are considering to be their next boss.

Mourinho’s pre-season grumpiness – which has been extreme even by his standards – has apparently “shocked United players and staff”, with some “convinced” this will be his last campaign.

Chelsea fear for Willian’s future

By contrast, Chelsea are said to be “unconvinced” by Willian’s claim that he failed to report for pre-season training due to some issues with renewing his passport (which is up there with “dog ate my homework” in the pantheon of dodgy excuses).

The Times reports that the Blues now “fear for his future at the club” amid interest in the Brazilian from United, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Willian blamed passport issues for missing Chelsea training amid Real Madrid talk
Willian blamed passport issues for missing Chelsea training amid Real Madrid talk

Willian has insisted he is “very happy” at Stamford Bridge although, as the broadsheet points out,
“being a minimum of five days late back for pre-season is not the best way of impressing a new manager”.

And what do we think about Mauricio Pochettino’s recent claim that Tottenham may not make a single signing in this transfer window? The Sun doesn’t believe him, and claims that Spurs are “on a mission” to sign long-term target Wilfried Zaha.

The Crystal Palace winger has a £70m price tag on his head but Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is hoping to sign the Ivory Coast international for a “cut-price £45m”, because that’s what Daniel Levy does.

Meanwhile, the Star says Real Madrid have approached Liverpool about signing their star forward Mohamed Salah as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo. Although Los Blancos should probably have thought of that before the Egyptian signed a new five-year Anfield contract last month.

Elsewhere, Thierry Henry has agreed terms to become the new manager of Egypt’s national team (King Fut), Everton are interested in signing Russia midfielder Denis Cheryshev, 27, from Villarreal (Marca) and Barcelona have once again been linked with a move for Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet (Sky Sports). It’s just mean to keep getting his hopes up like this.