Mourinho turns down Lyon talks, waiting for project at top club

Jose Mourinho has turned down the opportunity to speak to Lyon over the vacant manager role, as he is looking for a project at a top club.

The Portuguese manager has been out of work since he was dismissed by Manchester United in December 2018 and was heavily linked with the Real Madrid job, before Zinedine Zidane returned towards the end of last season.

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Lyon sacked Sylvinho on Monday one day after a last-gasp 1-0 defeat in the fierce derby with Saint Etienne -- their fourth loss in nine matches.

The Ligue 1 side have yet to replace the Brazilian and a source has told ESPN FC that, while Mourinho was grateful to have been offered the opportunity to discuss the role at Parc Olympique Lyonnais, it is not the right fit.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas later confirmed this, when he said: "It always hard to relate a conversation. We exchanged text messages and it made me aware of the image Lyon have in the eyes of Europe's No. 1.

"But he will a few other things soon. He turned down our offer to meet because he has chosen or will choose another club."

The same source added that Mourinho is open to returning to management at a top European club should the right project arise.

Last season, Mourinho turned down the biggest managerial offer in football history when he rejected €100 million to manage Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande.

With Mourinho out of the picture, sources said that Laurent Blanc met with Aulas and Lyon sporting director Juninho Pernambucano in Paris on Thursday to discuss the vacant position

Blanc was sacked by PSG three years ago and hasn't managed since.

The sources said that the meeting went well and Blanc left with a smile on his face. And according to French newspaper Le Parisien, the 1998 World Cup winner explained his vision and plan for the club.

Aulas and Juninho will also meet Rudi Garcia, the former Lille, Roma and Marseille manager, on Friday. Jocelyn Gourvennec, previously at Guingamp, and Claudio Ranieri, who has managed many big clubs in Europe throughout his career, are also on the shortlist. Despite interest, Arsene Wenger is not among the candidates at the moment.

The new manager will have to speak French, Aulas said on Thursday. Sylvinho didn't and struggled to put his message across to his players and to the fans and the media.

Sources say Blanc is the favourite for the job. His attacking style and his experience as well as his charisma and name fit the profile that Aulas and Juninho want.

Juninho will be the one making the final decision and the Brazilian hopes that the new manager is in place for the next Ligue 1 match against Dijon in 10 days.

Lyon finished last term in third place and much was expected this season following a reshaping behind the scenes where former midfield icon Juninho returned as sporting director and ex-Arsenal defender Sylvinho was hired as manager.

However, they have struggled in Ligue 1 and sit in 14th place, prompting a change.