Jose Mourinho keen on Pepe reunion: Champions League football could be key

Real Madrid defender Pepe is all set to leave the Spanish capital after a decade. The 34-year-old will be leaving the club when his £110,000 a week contract expires in the summer. He was signed by Bernd Schuster for around €33 million from FC Porto back in 2007. Over the years, he has transformed himself into an icon at the club, forming an incredible partnership with Sergio Ramos at the back. However, age has finally caught up with the player. Jose Mourinho does not seem to think so, as he is reportedly (The Star via Don Balon) keen on Manchester United signing the defender on a free transfer.

The move for Pepe would work for United on a number of reasons. As he is available on a free transfer, the club can hope to spend much of their £150 million transfer budget on the rest of the playing field. Pepe brings a wealth of experience after having won numerous accolades like the Champions League, La Liga, and the European Championship. The defender has had to play under several top managers like Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez, and Zinedine Zidane in order to achieve these trophies. Yet, he has played the most under Jose Mourinho, with 125 appearances under the Manchester United manager when he was at the Bernabeu.

Mourinho is keen on reviving this partnership, as he is keener on commitment at this point in time. The Portuguese manager has criticised the commitment shown by the defenders like Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling. However, he will be aware that convincing Pepe to join United would be extremely difficult if the club do not win the Europa League. United are in the Europa League final against Ajax, and success in this competition will help the club directly reach the Champions League group stages.

The presence of Champions League football is essential to attract a player like Pepe, who is on the verge of being lured by the riches of Chinese Super League. If he is to turn down a massive contract offer, it should be for another big challenge and not just fighting for the top four places. United have been linked with expensive defensive options like Jose Gimenez.

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