Lyon President Jean Michel Aulas has revealed that he was keen on appointing Jose Mourinho as the club’s manager in 2019 before the Portuguese coach had agreed to move to Tottenham.
Mourinho has now been at Tottenham for over 14 months and his spell at the club has had plenty of ups and downs.
Tottenham’s decision to part ways with Mauricio Pochettino in November 2019 was quite a controversial one, with the Argentine being a fan favourite among the North London faithful.
Mourinho was out of work for around a year since leaving Manchester United at the time and Daniel Levy decided that he was the man to lead the Lilywhites back to silverware.
It remains to be seen if the 58-year-old’s time in North London will turn out to be successful but Aulas has now revealed that he tried his best to convince Mourinho to snub Tottenham in favour of a move to the Groupama Stadium when the Ligue 1 club sacked Sylvinho last season.
Interestingly, he also claims that despite Mourinho’s decision to take the Spurs job, he claims that the door is not closed on the Portuguese managing the Ligue 1 outfit in the future.
Aulas told RMC Sport (as translated by GFFN): “Initially it wasn’t a call, it was a SMS. To say to him that we were interested in meeting. And he responds to me, I don’t exactly remember how he said it, but it was that he had basically signed for another club.
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“We knew that wasn’t true, especially in England, and I know President Levy of Tottenham well. I knew that it was not done.
“So I then tried again after that SMS, to say to him that if he was apprehensive on the financial side of things, that we had become much bigger than maybe he thought. And there he calls me directly to so no he was basically engaged with a club, without saying which one.
“And we learned a little later that it was Tottenham. But also that we shouldn’t close the door for the future.”
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The fascinating thing about Aulas’ admission is that he seems to suggest Mourinho already had a verbal agreement with Levy by October. This would suggest that talks between Spurs and Mourinho started a while before it was made public and Levy already had the Portuguese coach in place when he decided to sack Pochettino.