By Editor Wayne Veysey | Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this

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Manchester United are confident of reaching an agreement with Jose Mourinho to be their new manager this month, Football Insider sources understand.

The Portugese has been targeted by the Premier League giants as they weigh up alternatives to under-fire Louis van Gaal.

Preliminary talks have already taken place between United and Mourinho’s camp as the possibility grows that he will land the job of his dreams.

United’s wretched performances under Van Gaal, as well as a string of mediocre results that have seen them drift out of the title race, has persuaded club chiefs led by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to seriously consider Mourinho.

The likelihood is that Van Gaal will leave Old Trafford at the end of the season, one year before his contract expires.

As revealed by Football Insider on Friday morning, United are ready to offer Mourinho a contract that would make him the highest-paid manager in the world.

The Premier League giants are prepared to trump rivals Manchester City in a bid to make the Portugese the highest-paid manager in the world.

United are willing to hand Mourinho £16million-a-year, equivalent to £308,000-a-week, in a bid to install him as their new manager at the end of the season.

Despite strong reservations among the United old guard of directors, led by Sir Bobby Charlton, about Mourinho’s profile, capacity to court controversy and willingness to implement a style of play in the club’s traditions, there is a growing sense that the team could slip further behind City if they ignore the Portugese’s credentials.

Arsenal have not given up hope of enticing Pep Guardiola

Pep talks: Guardiola will take over as Man City manager in the summer

It was announced on Monday that Manuel Pellegrini will step down in the summer and Guardiola will take the reins at Etihad Stadium after ending his three-year Bayern spell.

Sources close to the situation have told Football Insider Mourinho has made it clear that he wants his next managerial post to be in the Premier League, and preferably at Old Trafford.

The Portugese has continued to live in England, at his family home in central London, since being sacked by Chelsea in mid December.