JOSE MOURINHO has revealed his blueprint for success at Real Madrid – and hinted at moves for England trio Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole.
Mourinho is poised to be named Real manager as soon as he has negotiated his departure from Inter Milan, who he led to Champions League glory on Saturday.
The former Chelsea boss is already planning for life in the Spanish capital, promising to balance his trademark defensive resilience with attacking flair.
And among his first steps are likely to be moves for long-term target Gerrard, 29, and former Blues disciples Lampard, 31, and Cole, 29.
“I like players in the final part of their careers,” said Mourinho. “I love to have some players who are 33 or 34 years old. They are players that you buy and you won’t recover this money, but if they give you good performances for two or three years you’ve got your money’s worth. Both [Gerrard and Lampard] are great players who always give everything.”
Mourinho’s first signing is widely expected to be Brazil right-back Maicon, tipped to follow his coach from the San Siro to the Santiago Bernabeu, and the Portuguese has made it clear he would like Cole to patrol the other flank.
“Normally we play with four [in defence] but with two offensive full-backs of the style of Ashley Cole or Maicon,” he added. “In midfield we can play in diamond or triangle. If we play with the triangle, then we line up to three forwards.”
Benfica and Argentina winger Angel di Maria is also set to join Real, with Mourinho admitting: “I want three or four defensive players, but we will improve the attack too.”
Gerrard looked set to join Mourinho at Chelsea in 2005, only to have a last-minute change of heart and stay at Liverpool, but is understood to be ready to leave Anfield.