Jose Mourinho agreed to take charge at Liverpool in 2004 before Chelsea hijacked the deal to poach the Champions League-winning manager instead, a new book has claimed.
The renowned 57-year-old reportedly agreed to join the Anfield outfit and replace Gerard Houllier, but Roman Abramovich swooped in with a higher offer and convinced Mourinho to move to west London.
A new book, ‘Mourinho: Behind the Special One, from the origin to the glory,’ written by French journalist Nicolas Vilas, chronicles the tussle between two of the Premier League’s biggest clubs to snap up the divisive tactician.
Jose Mourinho agreed to take charge at Liverpool in 2004 before Chelsea hijacked the deal
The 57-year-old had reportedly agreed to join the Anfield outfit and replace Gerard Houllier
Liverpool decided to reach out to potential successors to Houllier, who appeared to be floundering in his attempts to guide the club into the top four – although the Frenchman did ultimately secure top-tier European football.
However, the club had already compiled a shortlist of potential replacements and Mourinho, then in control of Porto, featured among the candidates.
Negotiations to snap up Mourinho began in April 2004, according to the book, just before Porto’s Champions League quarter-final showdown with Lyon.
Liverpool reached out to potential successors after struggles under Gerard Houllier
Jorge Baidek, Mourinho’s adviser at the time, said: ‘Mourinho should have gone to Liverpool. Rick Parry [then chief executive] was in charge of transfers and we had an agreement.
‘They asked us to wait for 15 days as Houllier was still the Reds’ manager.’
But despite Mourinho appearing to edge closer to the hotseat on Merseyside, Chelsea sensationally pounced to change his mind.
Super agent Jorge Mendes is said to have informed the Blues that they may be able to lure Mourinho to Stamford Bridge, and helped the club piece together a more attractive offer.
Super agent Jorge Mendes played a role in convincing Chelsea to move in with a higher offer
The Portuguese coach met Abramovich for the first time the evening before Porto’s Champions League semi-final in May.
And the deal was finalised after another meeting aboard the billionaire’s luxury yacht in Monaco, just the day after Porto lifted the Champions League trophy.
Mourinho infamously clinched three Premier League titles, an FA Cup and three League Cups over his two spells with the top flight giants.