LONDON - Jose Mourinho's relationship with Ed Woodward is at an all-time low with the pair at loggerheads over Manchester United’s transfer policy.
Sportsmail understands that Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, is reluctant to release more funds to manager Mourinho, who has spent more than £70million so far on Brazil midfielder Fred, Portuguese right back Diogo Dalot and reserve goalkeeper Lee Grant.
United’s squad will be strengthened when Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Ashley Young and Jesse Lingard, among others, return from their post-World Cup holidays but Mourinho is anxious to recruit further and presented Woodward with a list of five names "a few months ago".
There is no doubt United have the financial power to bid for targets and the inertia that Mourinho perceives has nothing to do with any kind of cash-flow issues. Woodward, though, has taken a stand not to release more money and that has startled his manager.
Mourinho’s mood has soured in recent weeks and his remarkable press conference following the 4-1 defeat by Liverpool on Saturday, in which he attacked anything and everything, shone a light on his feelings. He used the platform as an opportunity to apply pressure to Woodward.
Asked about some of the names with whom United have been linked - including Leicester’s England star Harry Maguire and Barcelona defender Yerry Mina - Mourinho replied: "I would like to have two more players. I think I am not going to get two. I think that it’s possible I will have one.
"And that one, I gave a list to my club of five names a few months ago. And I wait to see if it’s possible to have one of these players. If it’s possible, it’s possible. If it’s not, it’s not. If it’s possible, it’s good. If not then we keep fighting and working and believing in the players we have."
Woodward has not flinched in the last two summers in giving Mourinho resources to restructure the squad but the inclination to throw money at the situation is not a position with which the Old Trafford supremo agrees. This, clearly, is a crucial moment in shaping the new campaign.
It has been a wretched summer so far. United have yet to win a game and the final leg of their tour - which Mourinho lambasted as having no worth - is against Champions League winners Real Madrid in Miami on Wednesday.
United, it must be remembered, would not have signed off this tour without Mourinho having the final say and Saturday’s match was watched by Bryan Glazer, who represented the club’s owners. He left the Michigan Stadium just after the final whistle, shortly before Mourinho addressed the media.
The manager’s tetchy mood and comments have been poorly received by several figures within the squad. Mourinho risked further alienating individuals when saying: "This is not my squad, not even 30 per cent my squad. Half these players won’t be here on August 9."
Mourinho has been detached from the group, spending time with assistant Stefano Rapetti, who was appointed this summer as part of a reshuffle that included the addition of former midfielder Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna, promoted from the academy. How Mourinho’s relationship with Woodward pans out remains to be seen but unless something dramatic changes, Mourinho cannot buy unless he sells first.