Ed Woodward is reportedly reluctant to sack Jose Mourinho because of his own previous assurances to Manchester United’s owners. The Red Devils’ chief executive officer is known to have repeatedly gone in to bat for his manager, who he personally recruited to much fanfare two years ago.
It’s believed United even paid Mourinho £4m at the time not to take another job, when he was sacked by Chelsea and Louis van Gaal was still occupying the Old Trafford hot seat.
Woodward sanctioned an improved contract extension back in January for the 55-year-old, convincing the Glazer family it was the right thing to do, with reports Paris Saint-Germain were then sniffing about.
Senior United sources have acknowledged the great job Woodward has done off the field to keep the money rolling in under his commercial watch, but some feel even his own position could come under threat if results on the field don’t improve rapidly.
He has sanctioned spending close to £370m during Mourinho’s tenure, including a £505,000-per-week salary package for misfiring Alexis Sanchez, raising further questions about his own role in the current dour proceedings.
One thing is now clear, however, should United also fail to beat struggling Newcastle United on Saturday, the calls to axe Mourinho will ring even louder, and Woodward may no longer have a vital say in the matter.