Check your chocolate-filled advent calendars ladies and germs, we’re now just nine sleeps away from Jesus’ birthday – more commonly referred to by us present-giving atheists as Christmas.
There’s not much time left to make sure you’ve got enough cards and presents for everybody, which also means there’s not much time left to get your Christmas wishlist all prepped for St. Nick’s annual visit.
And it is a little-known fact that Premier League managers also partake in the seemingly juvenile tradition of writing a note to Santa, detailing all their desired gifts and wishes for the festive period. After all, who could need a bit of Christmas magic more than the poor souls donning the dugouts of the English top flight?
That goes double for Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who has watched his title-winning side disintegrate into viable relegation candidates since the start of the season. He’s hoping a few stars from one of his former stomping grounds, La Liga, can help turn the Blues’ woeful campaign around – and he’s been kind enough to show us the FIVE at the top of his Christmas wishlist!
After that incredibly intriguing rant about betrayal following Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat to Leicester City on Monday night, there is probably nothing Jose Mourinho wants more for Christmas than a player he actually trusts.
I’m sure there are a few Real Madrid stars who fall into that category but Atletico Madrid midfielder Tiago represents a tried and tested ally, having been one of Mourinho’s first ever signings as Chelsea boss way back in summer 2004.
The Portugal international helped the Blues to the Premier League title during his only season at Stamford Bridge before going on to enjoy similar success with Lyon and the Mattress Makers – with a Ligue 1 title, a La Liga title, a Copa del Rey and a Europa League title to his name.
The veteran midfielder is now 34 years of age but remains as consistent as ever, averaging 2.1 tackles and 2.5 interceptions per match this season whilst bagging one goal and two assists in 13 La Liga appearances.
Due to his age, however, Tiago would be one of those presents that are unfortunately forgotten about by the time next Christmas comes around.
After Branislav Ivanovic’s spate of horrendous performances at the start of the season, a new right-back certainly wouldn’t got amiss at Stamford Bridge this Christmas.
Enter Villarreal’s Mario – who you might remember for scoring that rather incredible goal against England during last month’s round of international friendlies.
The Spaniard is blessed with great speed and energy and famed for his overlapping runs. But he’s a consistent and dependable defender as well, this season averaging 2.4 tackles and 2.3 interceptions whilst bagging two goals in 13 La Liga outings.
He’s played an important role in Villarreal’s rise to fifth in the Spanish table, whilst also conceding the fifth-fewest goals of any side in the division, and at 25 years of age represents a decent long-term investment.
Having once described him as the best young defender in the world, I’m sure there’s nothing Jose Mourinho would enjoy more this Christmas than discovering Real Madrid star Raphael Varane under his tree.
Chelsea are the current owners of the sixth-worst goals conceded record in the Premier League and after being subbed off once again by Mourinho on Monday night, it appears John Terry’s days at the heart of the Blues’ defence are well and truly numbered.
Varane would be a more than adequate successor. At 22 years of age he’s already started a Champions League final and captained the France national team and appears to be the total centre-back package, with an eclectic mix of power, pace, aerial dominance, anticipation and quality on the ball.
Well aware of the 26-cap international’s enormous ability, however, Real Madrid seem unlikely to sell any time soon.
Antoine Griezmann is no stranger to the Chelsea rumour columns and at this point in the season, Jose Mourinho is probably wondering why he didn’t go all out for the Frenchman during the summer.
As a versatile winger-forward who produced talismanic displays out wide during his Real Sociedad days and has since emerged as a potent out-and-out striker for the Mattress Makers, the 24-year-old would solve a lot of problems for Chelsea in the final third.
Indeed, the 22-cap France international has amassed 37 goals in 73 appearances since joining the Vincente Calderon ranks in summer 2014 – including eight strikes and two set ups in La Liga this season.
But in typical Diego Simeone style, it’s Griezmann’s industriousness and strong team ethic that will appeal to Jose Mourinho most, having installed a similar philosophy at Stamford Bridge.
Santa works to make all wishes come true at Christmas time, but something tells me the forward’s €80million release clause will be a little outside his budget.
With Diego Costa hopelessly out of form, Chelsea need to find another dependable goal scorer – and Luis Suarez is one of the best in the business.
That will hardly be breaking news to Premier League fans, who watched the Uruguay international net 82 times in 133 appearances during his three-and-a-half-years at Anfield and almost fire Liverpool to the league title during the 2013/14 season.
But arguably more important that his goals is way the 28-year-old goes about getting them. In spite of possessing incredible natural talent, Suarez is one of the most industrious forwards in world football and his relentless tenacity tends to inspire similar performances from those around him.
That’s the fighting spirit Jose Mourinho’s sides are usually famed for and Chelsea have unexpectedly lacked this season.
But after claiming the Champions League title during his debut campaign at the Nou Camp and gone on to enjoy an even more important role this year, bagging 13 goals and five assists in La Liga and Europe combined, the South American probably isn’t thinking about a return to the Premier League just yet.