SIR ALEX Ferguson’s decision to step down from his post as Manchester United boss is unlikely to affect Chelsea’s pursuit of Jose Mourinho this summer.
The United manager will retire at the end of the season following more than 26 years of sustained success at the Old Trafford helm.
Mourinho, currently in charge at Spanish giants Real Madrid, is being courted by Chelsea as they seek a replacement for the departing Rafa Benitez.
It is no secret that Mourinho is a huge admirer of Ferguson and has previously admitted he would been keen to succeed the Scot as manager.
With Ferguson vacating the Red Devils hotseat, the opportunity has arisen for the Special One to return to England with the champions, further strengthening his bargaining position with Chelsea.
However, negotiations are understood to be ongoing between Mourinho’s advisors and the Stamford Bridge hierarchy and the United manager’s departure is not expected to derail the move.
David Moyes is widely expected to be confirmed as the new Manchester United manager in the next 24 hours.
Meanwhile, discussions between Mourinho and his former club are believed to be at an advanced stage.
Benitez yesterday hinted a return was imminent, stating: “The next year there will be another manager. I think everybody knows who will be here."
But Blues owner Roman Abramovich is reluctant to pay significant compensation, thought to be as much as £12million, to bring the Portuguese back to London.
The Special One spent three years in charge at the Bridge between 2004-07, helping them to their first league title in 50 years in his first season at the club.
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