Jose Mourinho has reportedly given his word to Saudi Pro League side Al-Shabab that he is available to become their next manager in the coming days.
On Tuesday, Mourinho was sacked by Roma after two-and-a-half years in charge of the Serie A side. Stuck in mid-table at the time, Roma decided it was time for a change, so they brought back former captain Daniele De Rossi on a contract until the end of the season.
While Roma have, out of necessity, moved on quickly from Mourinho, the manager himself could move on quickly from them by taking his next job soon.
He was approached by Roma in the same week as Tottenham Hotspur sacked him in 2021, and it now seems he has received an approach from his potential next employers in the same week as his Roma sacking.
The Special One has already been linked with various posts, such as somewhere in MLS, Newcastle United or the Saudi Pro League.
TEAMtalk exclusively revealed on Wednesday that Mourinho had become a target for Saudi side Al-Shabab, who currently only have a caretaker boss after sacking former Liverpool midfielder Igor Biscan in December.
Now, Middle Eastern source Aawsat has provided the update that Mourinho has ‘verbally agreed’ to take the job in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.
There is said to have been a Zoom meeting between Mourinho and Al-Shabab on Thursday, in which the former Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham boss said he would be willing to take charge.
As long as the final negotiations run smoothly, Mourinho could head to Saudi Arabia in the next few days.
He would be expected to play a significant role in Al-Shabab’s recruitment. The Saudi Pro League has been proactive in bringing world-class players in over recent months and there would be hopes for some to follow Mourinho to his potential new club.
Currently, some of the more recognisable names in the Al-Shabab squad include Yannick Carrasco (ex-Atletico Madrid), Ever Banega (ex-Sevilla) and Romain Saiss (ex-Wolves).
Even while he was employed by Roma, Mourinho spoke openly about the prospect of being another big name to end up in Saudi Arabia.
His interest could be about to become a reality after he supposedly started making plans for his new project at Al-Shabab.
Furthermore, representatives from the Saudi Pro League are purported to have offered their assistance to Al-Shabab in order to get the deal over the line.
Indeed, Mourinho is exactly the kind of profile that has been targeted by the Saudi Pro League over the past 12 months.
Many recognisable players have accepted a new challenge there, but Mourinho – after the likes of Slaven Bilic, Jorge Jesus and Steven Gerrard – would almost certainly be the highest-pedigree manager to be attracted by the project.
First Mourinho opponent for Al-Shabab could be extraordinary
Bizarrely, his first match in charge of Al-Shabab could be against the club that have just sacked him, Roma.
Two weeks ago, Roma – who are sponsored by Riyadh Season – announced they would be heading to the Saudi capital on January 24 to take on Al-Shabab in a friendly.
At the time, they still expected Mourinho would be managing them, but now, there is the extraordinary possibility of them being his first opponents as the new Al-Shabab boss.
Al-Shabab do have a friendly against Riga from Latvia before then, but the Mourinho deal might not be finalised in time for that.
Therefore, his first task could be to take on the squad of players he has just ceded control of.
Competitively, the Saudi Pro League will resume in the middle of February. Al-Shabab will resume their campaign sat 11th out of 18 teams, four points above the relegation zone.