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Trending: Bayern out in semis, Ron returns


Liverpool sale may lead to Mourinho move

Jose Mourinho will only consider succeeding Rafael Benitez at Liverpool if the club are sold to an investor who can compete with Manchester City and Chelsea in the transfer market.

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A decision on Benitez's future will be deferred by the Anfield hierarchy until the end of the season, by which time the current process of trying to find a new investor will have progressed. But a City expert has informed Soccernet that it will need a complete takeover of Liverpool to attract Mourinho.

The City source has intimate inside knowledge of previous failed attempts to buy out George Gillett and Tom Hicks and he told Soccernet: "From the people I know close to Jose, he will not join a financially unstable club.

"If Liverpool got themselves into a solid, stable financial condition with the funds to invest in new players then Jose wouldn't think twice of joining Liverpool if the opportunity arises. But not in the current conditions.

"The Liverpool owners have been trying to sell the club for two years, now they are seeking investment of £100 million. They'll be lucky. Who in their right mind is going to invest that amount for a minority stake with no control and no say?

"Anyone coming will want control, at least 51% at the very minimum. No one is going to hand over big sums with Hicks and Gillett calling the shots. It's dysfunctional as it is, and it would only be shuffling the deck chairs around the Titanic, and make no real difference.

"The club have been out there now for several months seeking investors without any joy, and I cannot imagine much will change in the next few months."

Finding a potential investor would have been an easier task had the club been performing better this season, and the source admitted that, should Liverpool fail to make the top four come May, financial problems could worsen and the desire to find a new manager strengthen.

"Of course, if the club fail to make it into the top four then the hope of paying the interest on their loans will diminish and that will exercise their minds about selling the club at a reasonable price. It will also increase the need to find a new manager, and there is little point in doing that, unless he is better than Benitez. That leaves a shortlist of one - Mourinho. The rest are just as good

"Everyone accuses Rafa of spending a lot of money but that was mainly before 2007, before Gillett and Hicks. Over the last three years, much less has been spent net on players, so he has been operating with one hand tied behind his back.

"There's no way Jose will be doing that. He will need a big budget to get the team going again. It is simple economics: you have got to be spending big money to be in the top four - there is no way around that. Liverpool haven't got it to spend and won't have it under the current set up. It has got to change, certainly to attract the likes of Mourinho."

Mourinho has stated his desire to return to the Premier League where he was so successful with Chelsea, but equally his future will not be decided until the end of the season, and may still hinge on the outcome of Inter's Champions League contest with Chelsea.

Inter Milan dispensed with Roberto Mancini after three successive titles in their quest for Champions League glory, hiring Mourinho specifically for his European pedigree. Even though Inter's president Massimo Moratti has publicly declared Mourinho's future will not be decided by Champions League success, he said the same about Mancini before replacing the Italian.

Manchester City are thought to have assessed Mourinho, among others, before finally concluding Mancini was the right man to succeed Mark Hughes. City chiefs believed Mourinho was waiting for Manchester United or Liverpool.

Soccernet's source added: "Assuming he cannot or wouldn't want to go back to Chelsea then Jose has only a handful of clubs he would choose back in England that are stable, clubs like Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Aston Villa, and despite all the debt at Manchester United, that would be his number one choice."

That, of course, depends on the date on which Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger decide to end their long running associations with their clubs, and there is no sign of that yet. Logically, that leaves Liverpool as the big prize for Mourinho - but it would only be on his terms.


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