Zinedine Zidane has been compiling a list of Manchester United transfer targets — if he lands the job.
The former Real Madrid boss has told friends he expects a call from Old Trafford chiefs if the crisis engulfing Jose Mourinho spirals out of control.
Despite Old Trafford executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward insisting that the club are still backing under-fire Mourinho, Zidane has been placed on standby if there is a change of heart.
It’s why he has been compiling a short-list of players he would like to bring to Old Trafford to help him turn around the club’s fortunes.
Players on Zidane’s list include Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos, Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara, James Rodriguez – currently on loan at Bayern from Real Madrid – and Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani.
Zidane has a burning ambition to manage in the Premier League and a club like United would complete the dream.
The Reds' top brass are aware the French legend, who quit the Bernabeu in the summer after delivering three consecutive Champions League Final triumphs, won’t be a free agent forever.
Zidane’s name has been the subject of much gossip among the players at their Carrington training ground, where the atmosphere under Mourinho is said to be strained.
The Portuguese knows he can’t afford many more damaging defeats while progress from a Champions League group containing Juventus and Valencia is expected as routine.
Any further slip-ups and Zidane is waiting in the wings — and determined to hit the ground running.