Could Jose Mourinho really be on his way back to Stamford Bridge? On Tuesday morning William Hill slashed their odds from 8/1 to 11/4 after a spate of large bets were placed on the “Special One’ making a dramatic re-entrance to SW6.
The Real Madrid boss has been involved in a number of public wranglings with the Bernabeu high command and is said to be considering his position at the end of the current campaign. The issue was brought up once again at the pre-match Champions League press briefing where Mourinho typically doused the flames with his ambiguous rhetoric: “If I were to leave Real I would like to coach a big club in the English or Italian league. England will always represent the future for me. But I would not coach a rival of a team with whom I have been happy.”
Ever the master of spin and hyperbole, Mourinho has often verbally left the gate open for moves elsewhere – moves which then have and have not come to fruition. Press speculation, tumbling odds and cryptic warblings from the man himself far from equate to a certain return but the potential is definately there for Mourinho to renew his vows with the club he so often professes to love.
The scenario is not hard to piece together for amateur sleuths, so it is worth putting a sense of perspective onto matters to analyse these prospects. First and foremost it is likely that either way Carlo Ancelotti will be departing from the Blues dugout this summer. Roman Abramovich and co have toed the party line regarding backing Ancelotti but such a fall from grace regardless of how it eventually pans out across the remainder of the season has been hard to tolerate. Ancelotti has never fully convinced he has the ability or conviction to rebuild this ageing Chelsea squad and an amicable and mutual parting may be the best for all concerned.
After that the candidates to replace the affable Italian are slim to none. The domestic contenders could be written on the back of a stamp and barring a punt on a relatively untried overseas coach the options are limited.
Should Mourinho become available and should he return to Chelsea there are many resolutions left unsaid following his acrimonious exit last time around. Somewhere amongst the truth were suggestions Mourinho was underwhelmed with Abramovich’s interference with the owner also not too fond of Mourinho’s inflammation of the club’s reputation and bland football. Quite which of these facets that led to the downfall have been resolved is anyone’s guess and could also represent a ticking time-bomb should the two parties re-acquaint.
Apart from the lack of an obvious successor to Ancelotti, paramount to Abramovich’s selection will be potential upcoming managerial berths at both Manchester City and United. Sir Alex Ferguson may only have another year or so left in him whilst the Abu Dhabi group would not hesitate in luring Mourinho should he become available at any time.
The prospect of one of two of Chelsea’s title rivals being armed with the man that virtually guarantees success should have made Abramovich’s mind up as to re-approach Mourinho. Although on what terms and how things fair will be much harder to detect.