Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben could be tempted by the prospect of reuniting with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United this season, according to the Daily Mail.
The Dutchman came to Stamford Bridge in 2004 and quickly asserted himself as an integral part of Chelsea’s title challenge, despite missing the crucial run-in through injury in 2005, and eventually drew the attention of Real Madrid in 2007. He enjoyed similar success in Spain, demonstrating his unique style of destruction on the left hand side, bursting past defenders at will and adding raw speed to Madrid’s approach, but he was “forced” out of the club in 2009 following Florentino Perez’s arrival and introduction of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka.
He then arrived at Bayern and, well, the rest is history: six Bundesliga titles, four domestic cups, a winning goal in a Champions League final, a World Cup runners-up medal and a superb, crucial goal at Old Trafford in 2010 under Louis van Gaal that still stings to this very day. The former United boss attempted to sign him following a superb 2014 World Cup but the winger wasn’t interested.
However, the Mail‘s Simon Jones has confirmed that the 33-year-old may be tempted by one final new challenge before he hangs up his boots, with Carlo Ancelotti’s addition of James Rodriguez to the squad, alongside a desire to promote younger players like Kingsley Coman to the starting XI this season, demonstrating that the Italian is moving in a different direction.
Robben will only have two or three years left in his legs at best and United, as a result, should be able to secure him for a reasonable price, despite the mass inflation in the transfer market following a truly bonkers window. They managed to sign Bastian Schweinsteiger for just £6m in 2015, after all.
Mourinho was the man responsible for propelling the winger to worldwide recognition 13 years ago and a re-union – the final chapter, so to speak – with the Portuguese would be fitting and, more importantly, just what this United squad needs: an authentically brilliant left winger blessed with bucketloads of experience and confidence. Any full-back who has faced him will grimace at the memory.
And Robben clearly has plenty of respect for Mourinho. In a letter to his 16-year-old self for the Player’s Tribune, the Dutchman provides an insightful revelation of what it was like to work under the man himself, and how it made perfect sense for somebody with Robben’s insatiable drive.
“And your boss? His name is José Mourinho. I should prepare you. Because he will expect a lot of you … and of everyone. Right away, you’ll feel the difference in playing for a Premier League club. You’ll need to be tougher, stronger, faster.”
“Maybe when the end of your career becomes more and more of a reality … you start thinking about the beginning.
“You’ll have to prove yourself all over again once you get there. And prove yourself to José every single week to stay in the lineup. Look, a lot has been said about José. He’s a strong personality, he’s demanding.
“But ever since you started playing, you’ve been just as demanding of yourself. In a way, it’ll almost seem like a perfect match. He wants to see your very best, each and every day on the pitch. And all you’ll want to give is your best. Whether in training, or in a match.”