Jose Mourinho has laid any lingering questions over his Manchester United future to rest by agreeing a new contract extension that ties him to the club until 2020 and includes the option of a further 12 months.
The Portuguese initially opened talks in December to prolong an initial three-year deal signed upon his appointment as the successor to Louis van Gaal in May 2016 and later dismissed reports that he was ready to leave Old Trafford at the end of the current season as "garbage".
Mourinho's decision to continue living in an apartment at the Lowry Hotel, his frequent trips back to London and public complaints that the £300m ($427.8m) that has been invested in United's playing squad since he arrived was insufficient, coupled with some open courting of Paris Saint-Germain, had led to fears that he was looking for a potential exit route.
"I am really honoured and proud to be Manchester United manager," the 54-year-old said after confirmation of that new deal. "I would like to say a big thank you to the owners and to Mr Woodward for the recognition of my hard work and dedication. I am delighted they feel and trust that I am the right manager for this great club for the foreseeable future.
"We have set very high standards - winning three trophies in one season - but those are the standards I expect my teams to aim for. We are creating the conditions for a brilliant and successful future for Manchester United.
"My thanks, of course, go to my staff and to my players; without their empathy and friendship this wouldn't be possible. I love my players and it is a pleasure to know that we are going to be together for at least the next three years. And I cannot finish without thanking the fans for their support and for making me feel at home so quickly. I repeat, to be Manchester United manager is an honour every day and I am really happy."
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who negotiated the extension with super-agent Jorge Mendes, praised Mourinho's "exceptional work rate and professionalism" and the "energy and sense of purpose" that he had instilled at United, whose desire to bring young players through to the first team he is said to have embraced.
Mourinho won the Community Shield, Carabao Cup and Europa League during his first season at the helm and currently has United second in the Premier League, 12 points adrift of dominant leaders Manchester City.
The Red Devils, who sanctioned Axel Tuanzebe's loan move to Aston Villa earlier on Thursday (25 January), take on League Two strugglers Yeovil Town in the fourth round of the FA Cup tomorrow night, with latest signing Alexis Sanchez set to make his debut in Mourinho's 100th match in charge at Huish Park. They also face Sevilla in the last 16 of the Champions League next month.