Man United discussing Jose Mourinho amid Louis van Gaal doubts - sources

Manchester United representatives have spoken to Jose Mourinho's camp about the possibility of becoming the club's next manager, sources from both sides have told ESPN FC, with current boss Louis van Gaal on the brink of the sack.

United suffered a third consecutive defeat on Saturday, losing 2-1 to Norwich City at home in another insipid display, and sources told ESPN FC that the growing feeling among the hierarchy is that it is time to replace Van Gaal.

That would pave the way for Mourinho to get the job he has coveted for years, and ESPN FC has been told his representatives approached United within 24 hours of the Portuguese losing his job at Chelsea on Thursday, with that contact continuing over the weekend.

Sources indicated that Mourinho is fully ready and willing to take the role -- and said privately this week that it would be impossible to turn down -- and that United are "very, very tempted" by the prospect.

His appointment at Old Trafford is still a long way from certain, however.

ESPN FC was told in 2013 that Sir Bobby Charlton, who has worked as a director at United for over 30 years, had such strong concerns over Mourinho's conduct that he was ruled out of the running to replace Sir Alex Ferguson, and sources say there are still some within the Old Trafford hierarchy who are stridently opposed to the 52-year-old's appointment.

The sources said their influence is waning, though, and that some who were against Mourinho before have now changed their opinions.

At the same time, United's position is influenced by the belief that there remains an outside chance of getting Pep Guardiola as next manager, even if the strong feeling is he will go to Manchester City once he leaves Bayern Munich in the summer.

Other potential complications have also been raised, such as the inevitable distractions that would arise if the Portuguese's first game were to come against Chelsea. The two teams are set to meet at Old Trafford on Dec. 28.

Some around United are also maintaining that Van Gaal will be given at least two games to try turn it around, with a fixture against Stoke next up on Boxing Day, but the conflicting accounts offered by those inside the club reflect the uncertainty of the current situation.