Could Mourinho axe convince Ferguson to quit Man Utd?
If Guardiola and Mourinho are both out of work next summer, will Fergie stand aside?
JOSE MOURINHO is being tipped to quit Real Madrid at the end of the season sparking a 'scramble' among Premier League clubs eager to bring him back to England, and even raising the possibility that Alex Ferguson's reign at Manchester United could soon come to an end.
Spanish paper Marca reported today that Mourinho, who has been in charge of Real since 2010, has agreed with club president Florentino Perez that he will leave the Bernabeu at the end of the season.
The paper says that the pair's relationship is "in tatters" and that Perez has accused the spiky manager of "cutting his own throat" amid reports of player unrest and fan anger.
Real are the Spanish champions but are currently third in La Liga, 11 points behind perennial adversaries Barcelona and five off local rivals Atletico Madrid.
"Marca, which is known to have strong links with Real, reports that Perez has become concerned by a number of incidents this season which have not cast the club in a good light," reports The Guardian.
Mourinho was jeered by some sections of the crowd during last week's win over Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey, and afterwards said he would meet fans pitchside before the game against Atletico at the weekend.
There was also a bizarre row with defender Sergio Ramos after the defender put on the shirt of his team-mate Mesut Ozil when the striker was substituted. It was seen by many as an attempt to undermine Mourinho, who has also clashed publicly with Alberto Toril, the manager of Real Madrid's second team, which plays in Spain's second tier. Mourinho accused Toril of failing to provide players for the first team.
Mourinho denied the reports that he is on the way out and, according to Goal.com, told a press conference: "Am I leaving Real Madrid? There's no truth in this story. I do not want to say anything more about it."
However, if he does walk away then it opens up the possibility that Alex Ferguson could decide to call time on his reign at Old Trafford. Even before the stories about Mourinho broke on Monday, the British press was already claiming that Ferguson had unofficially anointed the Portuguese as his successor.
Fergie told a documentary, to be screened tonight: "I'm not going to put any forecasts on what is going to happen at [United]. I won't last forever, but Jose can manage anywhere, there is no question about that."
Last week it was reported that former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola is also in the frame for the United job when it becomes available. The Sun claimed that Guardiola and Ferguson had even met privately in New York, where the Spaniard is enjoying a year-long sabbatical from football.
If Mourinho does leave Real at the end of the season it would mean that the two men Ferguson sees as his most likely successors will both be looking for work. That is unlikely to be the case a year later and could have an impact on the Manchester United manager's thinking, especially as Chelsea and Manchester City could be waiting to pounce.