Mourinho to target John Stones in Manchester United spending spree
Everton defender was a target for the Portugese manager at former club Chelsea
Jose Mourinho is a big admirer of Everton defender John Stones. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
José Mourinho has identified André Gomes, João Mário, John Stones, Álvaro Morata, Mauro Icardi and Ezequiel Garay as summer targets for Manchester United as part of an antipated minimum £150 million spend.
The Portuguese’s imminent replacement of Louis van Gaal as manager will lead to major surgery on the squad but has boosted several previous unhappy players, notably David De Gea, Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera. Juan Mata, though, could leave as Mourinho sold the Spaniard to United in January 2014, when in charge of Chelsea.
Mourinho is understood to retain an interest in Stones, the defender valued at more than £40 million and whom he tried to sign for Chelsea last summer, and faces a fight for the England international with Manchester City. United have also made enquiries to Juventus about Morata’s team-mates Alex Sandro, a left-back, and Paul Pogba, the former United midfielder. However the club was quoted €150 million for each, a price designed to end United’s interest.
It would constitute a major surprise if United were not to confirm Van Gaal’s departure today and swiftly install Mourinho.
Despite Mourinho being out of work since December and having no formal contact with Ed Woodward until this month, when the executive vice-chairman, finally made a move for him, the Portuguese has been drawing up a list of potential acquisitions in the expectation of being offered the job.
Mourinho has been aided in this by Jorge Mendes, his representative, who is one of the world’s most powerful agents with an extensive network of contacts. Many players who are Mendes clients are of interest to the incoming manager.
Valencia’s Gomes, 22, is represented by Mendes and is wanted by Mourinho to bolster the midfield. The Portuguese would cost around £40 million, has five international caps, and won the Primeira Liga with Benfica in 2014.
Mario, 23, also a Portuguese midfielder, plays for Sporting and has eight international caps and he would cost at least £27 million.
Mourinho’s interest in Gomes and Mário suggests Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has suffered an injury-plagued first season at United and who is 32 in August, may be under threat.
Zenit St Petersburg’s Garay previously played under Mourinho at Real Madrid and is a 29-year-old centre-back who is a seasoned Argentina international with 32 caps. However as Mourinho sold him to Benfica in 2011 Garay may be a second choice after Stones.
Morata would cost about £40 million as Real Madrid are expected to activate their £23.6 million buyback a clause from Juve and listen to offers in this region for him. He is a Spanish striker who is thought to a favour a move to United over a host of other clubs due to Mourinho now being set to takeover.
Despite De Gea enjoying another superb term for United, he was minded to depart should Van Gaal be granted the final season of his contract. However the arrival of Mourinho has changed the view of Carrick and De Gea.