Written by Nicholas Edwards
With the revelation a few weeks back that Jose Mourinho may leave Real Madrid at the end of the season and the Portuguese coach’s preference for a return to the Premier League; let’s take a look at the reasons why the two time Champions League winner feels Madrid is not the place for him, and cast a glance at possible English clubs that might look to acquire his services.
Mourinho’s problems at Real Madrid can be summed up in two words: Jorge Valdano. Real Madrid’s general manager clearly has an ego that matches that of ‘The Special One’ and it is easy to imagine the pair locking horns daily about the running of Spain’s most decorated club team. The feud has now spilled out into the public arena with Valando openly condemning Mourinho’s failure to use Karim Benzema describing the French striker’s bench warming as ‘a great injustice’. Mourinho likes to at least have full control over all matters pertaining to team selection, tactics, training, etc. It is becoming apparent that one of them needs to go and, although the idea of Mourinho managing Real Madrid seemed like the perfect fit at the start of the season, it now appears that the dream has been destroyed by the internal politics at the Bernabeu and another manager will have to leave with a blip on his resume. Pretty typical for Real Madrid really.
Mourinho has openly stated that he wishes to return to England. He likes the passion for the game over here and his family really enjoyed their time on our quaint little island. His mind seems made up, so the only question that remains is; where will he go?
Manchester United – While this seems like the likeliest of destinations for Mourinho, it all hinges on one man; Sir Alex Ferguson. Mourinho seems to be the natural heir to the most successful British team in modern football but Ferguson will have to retire before this happens. The timing might not be right. If Sir Alex doesn’t want to leave just yet then no one would even dare dream about forcing him out. Ferguson may still have a couple of seasons left in him and Mourinho won’t sit around and wait for him to stop.
Manchester City – This seems very likely but not the likeliest. City’s owners appear to only be concerned with success and wouldn’t see any problem cutting Roberto Mancini loose. The Italian is doing a good job at Eastlands but with the money being spent the owners (and maybe even the fans) wouldn’t feel too sorry about paying for the best they can get, especially if he is available.
Chelsea – This would be very unlikely but the current situation at the club gives the possibility more credence. The team are under-performing and Ancelotti seems to be on thin ice. Fans would love to see the return of the manager they never wanted to leave, the man who propelled them to the heights they have enjoyed over the five or six years. With Ancelotti possibly on the way out and Mourinho possible in search of a club, it would seem a good fit. The only obstacle would be the ego clash between Mourinho and Abramovich. Would ‘The Special One’ want to be in the same situation he is in now?
Arsenal – This doesn’t seem at all possible. The only reason why I’m mentioning it is because Arsenal are one of England’s top clubs. But Wenger seems to have a job for life and Arsenal’s football philosophy is in stark contrast to Mourinho’s. He likes to play with a strong defensive backbone and while the Gunner’s need this, they could never abandon their creative attacking style of play. Mourinho also likes to buy players when they are in their prime whereas Arsenal are now renowned for nurturing young talent. There is a very slight possibility of this move happening but no one will be holding their breath.
Tottenham – It might not be a popular opinion but I believe that this is one of, if not the, most likely destinations for Mourinho. The White Hart Lane outfit are establishing themselves as one of the top teams in the Premier League and the squad certainly suits Mourinho’s type. Harry Redknapp has done a fantastic job with Tottenham and he won’t be forced out but he is clearly destined to be the next England manager and if the FA decide to dismiss Capello before his contract runs out then Mourinho would be the perfect man to take Spurs to the next level in the same way he did when he took over at Chelsea.
Liverpool – With all the problems that have hit Liverpool over the past season or two; Liverpool need stability more than anything. They seem to have found that in Kenny Dalglish and I find it hard to believe that he won’t be given the job on a permanent basis. He is the fans choice and while Mourinho is a top manager, Dalglish is Liverpool through and through. It all depends on the owner’s visions for the club but if they want a guarantee that the fans will stay on their side, they have to keep Kenny in charge.
Mourinho would suit a few of these clubs but it all depends on timing and other managers plans. If Redknapp and Ferguson stay on at their clubs there’s nothing to be done because they won’t get sacked. Manchester City’s money and mercenary philosophy makes them a likely destination while Arsenal and Liverpool don’t really need to change managers. The circumstances and timing seem to support a move to Chelsea but the bitter history provides a stumbling block. Mourinho might decide to leave sunny Spain for England in the summer but there is a very real possibility that there won’t be a place for him at one of the top clubs.