United on red alert as Real Madrid stars face Mourinho axe
Manchester United are poised to swoop for Real Madrid's superstars with Jose Mourinho's appointment about to spark a fire sale. The former Chelsea boss, who will take over at the Bernabeu in the next few days after coach Manuel Pellegrini was sacked last night, is certain to tear up the Galactico blueprint and that's put United on red alert. Even before his Madrid contract is signed, the Special One' has warned the Madrid greats what to expect. My message to the players of Real Madrid is they are not stars, the star is not the coach, the star is the team, he said. If they all accept this, like when I was at Porto, Chelsea or Inter, the victories will come. There are certain to be casualties when Mourinho takes the reins but, despite a public fall-out two years ago with Madrid's world record signing Cristiano Ronaldo, he is highly unlikely to let his Portuguese compatriot return to Old Trafford. However, strikers Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain could well be surplus to requirements. Mourinho has preferred older front men to supply his goals. He signed Didier Drogba for Chelsea when he was 26 and two-goal Champions League final man of the match Diego Milito was 30 when he teamed up with Mourinho at Inter last summer. Sir Alex Ferguson is a well-publicised admirer of French hitman Benzema but failed to land him last summer when he left Lyon. The 22-year-old has not had the best of times in his first campaign in Spain and Mourinho could return to one of his former clubs for a tried and trusted scorer in Drogba or Milito to lead any potential new-look Real attack. That could also put pressure on Higuain the prolific 22-year-old Argentinian, who would tick the boxes as United look to reinforce their attack. Dutch playmaker Rafael van der Vaart has been linked with the Reds in the past and is a boyhood United fan. The 27-year-old would fit the Paul Scholes role in midfield. An added advantage is that Van der Vaart can also play wide on either flank and as a second striker. In a 10-year career with Ajax, Hamburg and Real, Van der Vaart has scored 82 league goals in 249 appearances, which matches Scholes' return from midfield. The concern for United is that with Mourinho's appointment not yet rubber-stamped, the players up for grabs may not become immediately clear. And with the World Cup only 15 days away, the big fear for Fergie, who would prefer to have any marque signing in for pre-season training, is that transfer market may not get into full swing until late summer. Would you like to see United go for Higuain, Van der Vaart and Benzema? Have your say.
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