They were a few throw away comments that have caused boardroom across England to sit up and take notice. Jose Mourinho, controversial coach of Inter Milan, recently declared that he doesn’t like Italian football and “it doesn’t like me.”
This will only speed up the rumour mill that has linked Mourinho with a return to England almost as soon as he left Chelsea in 2007.
His brash, outspoken and arrogant style sat well with the press in England, presumably because it was easy to get a headline out of him. His trophy haul also speaks for itself, wining two Premier League titles, two Carling Cups and an FA Cup in three years at Stamford Bridge.
But although he has had similar success with Inter, winning the Scudetto last season, his relations with the footballing authorities have not always been as cordial.
In February, Mourinho paid a £11,500 fine to settle a disciplinary case over an altercation with a journalist last December.
He also received a £16,000 fine last month for claiming “everything was done for us not to win” after two Inter players were sent off in a 2-0 defeat of Milan, adding: “I’ve realised they won’t let us wrap up the championship early”.
Mourinho also made a handcuffs gesture after seeing Walter Samuel sent off and Ivan Cordoba booked during a 0-0 draw with Sampdoria, with the action interpreted as him suggesting his side were being victimised by referees.
Italian match officials were so incensed at his comments that they were prepared to go on strike if Mourinho was not given a severe punishment for his actions. He subsequently received a three-game touchline ban and was fined £35,000 for “insulting officials”.
None of this will put off suitors in England, as Mourinho’s already high stock rose still further when he knocked his old club Chelsea out of the Champions League last month.
He might end up in the hot seat for Portugal. The World Cup 2010 football odds suggest the side could struggle in a group which also features Brazil, Ivory Coast and South Korea. It’s more than likely Portugal will be looking for a new boss in the autumn. However, Mourinho is likely to view the job as national team boss as one for the future, and seems to have set his sights on a return to his adopted home of England.
But where would he go?
Well a return to Chelsea would be spectacular, but despite confessing his fondness for the cub, is it ever an idea to go back? Especially with the same board with whom he fell out with so acrimoniously in 2007 still in place.
He has spoken about his admiration for Liverpool and with Rafa Benitez’s position increasingly under scrutiny there may be a vacancy at Anfield in the summer. But with the current turmoil at boardroom level it is unlikely the manager would have money to spend, which is could put Mourinho off.
There are no such problems at Man City, who have an endless amount of cash. Roberto Mancini’s future remains uncertain and would be in doubt if he fails to take City into the Champions League so an endless transfer budget may be just the carrot needed to persuade the special one to move to Eastlands.
But that might prevent him from taking the job many suspects he really wants – Manchester United. With Sir Alex Ferguson close to retirement United will soon need their first new manager in 26 years. Mourinho certainly has the ego to fill Fergie’s boots and the football betting suggests he is in with a shout, but is he prepared to wait for the Scot to finally call it a day?
Written By Betfair Blogger Phil Tomlinson