Paper Round: Jose Mourinho rewarded by Manchester United with five-year contract
Jose Mourinho will sign a new five-year contract with Manchester United after his flying start to the season. It’s Thursday’s Paper Round.
Jose to commit to United with five-year contract extension
Jose Mourinho is to be rewarded for Manchester United’s excellent start to the season with a £65 million five-year contract, according to The Sun. The club’s board have been impressed by Mourinho’s transformation of the club and are keen to “tie him down.” If he goes the distance at United, it would be his longest spell as a manager at any one club.
Paper Round’s view: Now seems as good a time as any to point out that in recent years sackings have generally been what's prevented Mourinho from serving out his contracts with clubs, but hey ho. It’s easy to see why the United board are excited after the years of post-Ferguson wilderness, and it’s true the squad are looking better than they have in a long time. But seven games does not a title maketh, and there are no doubt some choppy waters for The Special One to navigate yet this season.
Mata rejects big-money China move
Meanwhile, Mourinho isn’t the only man hoping to stay on at Old Trafford it seems, as The Mirror reports Juan Mata has rejected an opportunity to move to the Chinese Super League for a “huge hike” on his current salary. According to the newspaper the 29-year-old has opted to stay on at Manchester United, with the club looking to trigger a one-year contract extension, with Ander Herrera also likely to be kept on for an extra season.
Paper Round’s view: Though Herrera has struggled to get as much time on the pitch as he might have liked this season, Mata has appeared in all seven of United’s league games thus far. At 29, he is a bit older than the squad average and did of course part company with Chelsea under Mourinho. That said, he is some way off facing Super League obscurity.
Kante ruled out until the end of the month
N’Golo Kante is set to miss the rest of the month after limping off the pitch during international duty last weekend. The Premier League’s Player of the Year suffered a hamstring injury, just days before it was announced he’d made the Ballon d’Or shortlist.
France's defender N'golo Kante (L) fights for the ball with Bulgaria's midfielder Spas Delev during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying football match between Bulgaria and France at The Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia on October 7, 2017.Getty Images
Paper Round’s view: Trailing six points behind table-toppers Manchester City, Kante’s layoff is no doubt a worry for Antonio Conte, not least because he joins Alvaro Morata on the sidelines. That said, they only have to see off Crystal Palace, Watford and Bournemouth in the league before the month is out. More worrying perhaps are the two Champions League fixtures in October, though Conte will no doubt be counting his blessings these are against Roma rather than Atletico Madrid.
Christmas comes early
Coinciding with the ludicrously early seasonal aisle taking a turn for the “festive” in your local supermarket, Thursday’s paper’s get in on the ol’ Christmas fixtures whinge ahead of the clocks even going back. The Daily Star reports that Arsenal’s December 23 clash against Liverpool at The Emirates Stadium in North London is likely to be rescheduled to 12:30pm on December 24, drawing the ire of fans on both sides.
Paper Round’s view: Thank goodness someone raised the thorny subject of Christmas fixtures, it’s been ages since anyone had a good old moan about those. Approximately 10 months, to be precise. Still, best get used to it, we suppose – tis the season, after all. That said, Christmas Eve would clearly be a stupid day to schedule a Premier League fixture, even if it wasn’t between clubs based at different ends of the country.