ZINEDINE ZIDANE is gearing up to replace Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, it has sensationally been claimed.
Mourinho’s future at Old Trafford is under scrutiny after the 3-2 defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion amplified tensions at the club.
Zidane has been linked with the potential vacancy and is available after walking away from Real Madrid in June.
According to CaughtOffside, the former Real Madrid boss is confident he could soon be offered the chance to succeed Mourinho.
And it is claimed he has already been in touch with two members of Mourinho’s squad.
CaughtOffside report Zidane spoke to Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial about remaining at the club amid speculation over their futures.
The French duos’ relationships with Mourinho have been under the spotlight since last season.
Pogba had a bust-up with the boss in February and was dropped to the bench for a string of fixtures.
Mourinho has handed the World Cup winner the captain’s armband this season, and was forced to deny they do not see eye to eye.
Barcelona are interested in swooping for Pogba, but Manchester United are unlikely to sell before the Spanish transfer deadline on August 31.
Martial, meanwhile, has struggled to nail down a regular spot in the starting XI.
He was given a chance to shine against Brighton but flopped.
Mourinho’s relationship with United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has reached boiling point after a dismal summer transfer window.
Woodward is eager to see Pogba, Martial and the club’s other young talents shine.
And Zidane, who won three consecutive Champions League titles at Real Madrid, could be the man for the job.
Former Red Devils winger Lee Sharpe certainly believes that is the case, describing Zidane as the “ideal candidate” to succeed Mourinho.
“He’s played at the highest level, managed at the highest level and has been successful at both,” Sharpe told talkSPORT.
“He’s a big enough name who could cope with the pressure and the questions asked of managing a club of that size so I think he would be ideal.”
Mourinho is among the bookies’ favourites to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post.
There are doubts in the dressing room whether he will still be in charge by the time the January transfer window rolls around.
Amid the barrage of criticism from former players and pundits, Mourinho has thanked the fans for not deserting him in his hour of need.
“The supporters were fantastic in both matches,” he said. “For the team, which is the only thing that matters.
“In my career I was never selfish and thinking about myself, I was always a club man. That’s what I am.
“I am really happy with the supporters and how they support the team. Against Leicester, you can say it was a normal situation because the team was playing well and was winning.
“But to be supportive of the team against Brighton, where we didn’t play well and lost the match, it gives you a fantastic feeling.
“I hope that feeling, that the players also feel it and that the players they are ready to give them everything they have.”