Manchester United News: Could Valencia Steal Jose Mourinho?

Jose Mourinho, left, has been out of work since leaving Chelsea in December.
Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, London, December 9, 2015. Mourinho may move to Valencia next season instead of Manchester United. Clive Mason/Getty Images

Gary Neville's swift and brutal departure from Valencia could have damaging knock-on effects in Manchester United's pursuit of Jose Mourinho.

Neville, the former United defender, left the Spanish club on Wednesday afternoon following a chastening four months in charge, with Valencia 14th in La Liga, six points off the relegation zone.

But Mourinho's agent, Jorge Mendes, is a close advisor to the club's owner, Peter Lim, and The Sun reports that an agreement has been reached on a deal for the Portuguese to take over at the Mestalla stadium.

The news would be a staggering turnaround from last week, when Mourinho was reported to have signed a pre-contract agreement with United to take over from Van Gaal in the summer.

However, there is no concrete agreement in place for Mourinho to take Dutchman Van Gaal's job, meaning Valencia could pinch the man sacked as Chelsea manager in December from under the English Premier League giant's nose.

Mourinho has worked in Spain before, with Real Madrid from 2010 to 2013, before the 53-year-old spent an ultimately ill-fated second spell at Chelsea.

If United loses out on Mourinho, it may well decide to stick by Van Gaal, who has one year left remaining on his current deal but has become increasingly unpopular with United's fans over a difficult season.

That somber mood could change if Van Gaal steers United into the UEFA Champions League ahead of its bitter cross-city rival Manchester City, which currently lies just a point ahead in the tooth-and-nail race for fourth place in England's top division.

Van Gaal has seen United crash out of the Champions League, the UEFA Europa League and the FA Cup this season under his watch, but has been praised for bringing a number of talented academy prospects through into the first team, including Marcus Rashford, the 18-year-old striker who has scored five goals in eight games since his debut against FC Midtjylland of Denmark in February.