Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola face potiential head-to-head as Manchester United and City plot China clash

The Portuguese has been roundly linked with replacing Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford in the summer

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The Independent Football

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is in line to face Manchester United in a pre-season friendly in China where his old rivalry with Jose Mourinho could be rekindled straight away.

Despite the Spaniard’s reservations about playing against immediate domestic rivals in inconsequential exhibition matches, City are in line to receive millions from competing in the International Champions Cup. 

According to the Daily Mail, their participation could see them lock horns with Manchester rivals United in either Beijing or Shanghai – and witness Guardiola and Mourinho go head-to-head. 

The Portuguese has been roundly linked with replacing Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford in the summer with the Red Devils six points adrift of the Premier League top four. 

Despite being expected to leave at the end of the season, the Dutchman is playing a fundamental role in planning the pre-season tour of Asia.

United will have to finish their stay in China in time to return for Wayne Rooney’s testimonial against Everton at Old Trafford on August 3. 

City’s decision to visit the country stems from the deal to sell a 13% stake in the club to China Media Group in December. 

Speaking exclusively to the Independent, Van Gaal revealed he does not believe United have held talks with Mourinho about replacing him.

“I have not said that we have spoken, but he [Mourinho] is my friend, so there you go,” Van Gaal said. “But I don’t know if Manchester United have spoken with Mourinho or not.

“I can only say that I have spoken with [United’s executive vice-chairman] Ed Woodward and I cannot imagine that they have spoken with each other. I think that if they speak with another manager, they would tell me because our relationship is like that. But I think that, if they want to change, they have to prepare themselves. That is also a professional attitude, in my opinion.”