Louis van Gaal has two games to save his job at Manchester United. That is according to reports, which claim Jose Mourinho, sacked by Chelsea earlier in December, is waiting to take the reins should the Dutchman slip up over the festive period.
Should the claims of the Guardian be correct and the former Real Madrid boss arrive at Old Trafford, he is likely to be handed the same freedom and financial backing that has been afforded to Van Gaal. Rather conveniently, that could all coincide with the opening of the January transfer window. IBTimes UK considers which names we can expect to see linked with moves to the red half of Manchester United should Mourinho take up residence there.
While just who has final say on transfers at Chelsea sometimes remains a mystery – the arrivals of Baba Rahman and Papy Djilobodji in August would suggest it was not Mourinho – the club's long-term interest in Griezmann suggests the potential arrival of the France international is definitely one the Portuguese coach was on board with.
Given United's well-documented problems in attack, we can likely expect some major additions up front over the next year, whoever is in charge. But any attempts to prise Griezmann away from Atletico Madrid are likely to fall on deaf ears, however, at least until the summer.
Chelsea's attempts to bring Everton prodigy Stones to Stamford Bridge made for one of the summer's longest-running transfer sagas. Clearly he was a player Mourinho envisaged becoming the long-term successor for John Terry. But after Everton rejected a series of offers, the final one worth £40m ($59m), as reported by the Guardian, and even a transfer request from the player himself, the Blues eventually admitted defeat. You can imagine any January bid, from Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford, is likely to be met with equally stern resistance.
Mourinho would likely move heaven and earth to sign the player he has identified as the best young defender in the world. Speaking of Varane in 2014, Mourinho told Yahoo: "I think he is the best young central defender in the world. Already I think he is the best."
The Portuguese was in charge of Real Madrid when they signed Varane from Lens in 2011 and never shied away from using him, despite his perceived reluctance to play youth. In fact, promises of a first-team position from the manager was what played the biggest role in convincing the France international to move to the Santiago Bernabeu.
"It was Jose Mourinho who convinced me. He said that I'd progress that I'd reach the highest level and that the move would be nothing but positive for me," he told Fifa.com in 2013. "He's a winner, a competitor, and he transmits that to his players."
According to Real president Florentino Perez, United also came knocking in the summer.
Chelsea were interested in signing Paul Pogba under Mourinho. That does not mean much – all of Europe's elite clubs will have held some sort of interest in the France international during his rise to prominence with Juventus.
But according to Gazzetta dello Sport, the 22-year-old rejected an €85m bid to move to Stamford Bridge during the summer transfer window, one that would have made him the club's, and the Premier League's, record transfer. With a move away from the Bianconeri likely to beckon in the summer of 2016, as recently suggested by his agent Mino Raiola, could Mourinho look to position himself at the front of the queue again?