On Monday evening, Florentino Perez, the Real Madrid president revealed one of the worst kept secrets in football, that Jose Mourinho would leave the club at the end of the season.
Speculation has been growing for several months that Jose would be returning to Chelsea for his second coming. Or as he puts it, ‘coming home’.
In a interview after Real Madrid were knocked out of the Champions League by Borussia Dortmund, Mourinho said that he was loved by some clubs, especially one. He claimed that Spain is a big difference, as some people hate him.
With his return to Chelsea almost a certainty, the job Mourinho has now will be a completely different one to when he first took over at Stamford Bridge.
On his first arrival in 2004, Mourinho arrived at Chelsea as a Champions League winner. Jose had just led Porto to European glory and announced his arrival with his ‘special one’ speech.
Mourinho was indeed the special one in his first two years in charge of the club. In his first season, he led Chelsea to the title, breaking records on the way. Chelsea had amassed the most points in history with 95, conceded the fewest goals with 15 and had the most wins in a season with 29. Chelsea were a strong force under Mourinho.
Chelsea successfully defended their title the following season. But after Manchester United won the title back in 06-07, the cracks in the Mourinho and Abramovich relationship started to appear. The once romantic partnership had completely broken down. After a 1-1 draw at home to Rosenborg, Mourinho was shown the door.
Since Mourinho has left Chelsea, both have had mixed fortunes. Mourinho succeeded at Inter, becoming the first manager to lead an Italian team to the treble. But his time at Madrid, has been described as a failure.
Chelsea have continued to win silverware but have struggled in the Premier League. Their Champions League victory was the pinnacle of their success. But the team that won it, was widely considered as Jose’s team.
Mourinho has a good success rate as a manager. But his new relationship with Abramovich will be tested. Abramovich is, and will always be the boss around Chelsea. Mourinho must accept that. Their relationship may be patched up, but working together again will test that new relationship.
Chelsea are a club that are now looking for longevity. They need a long term plan and currently have a lot of good youngsters coming through. Chelsea have spent a lot of money on youth with the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Lucas Piazon and they have youngsters Wallace and Cristian Cuevas arriving this summer.
Mourinho is not one to hang around for long. Three years seems to be the most a club can put up with the special one. He’s also not one for youth. Mourinho has not brought any youngsters through at Chelsea, Inter or Madrid. With a lot of talent he could turn to, the chances are he will dip into the transfer market.
Jose will certainly look at bringing in a top quality striker. Chelsea will look at Falcao but rumours are going round that the Colombian has signed for newly promoted French side AS Monaco. Mario Gomez is another option as is Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen, although he will be considered more long term than spearheading their attack next season. Mourinho is also interested in Malaga’s Isco and will look to bring Luka Modric with him. Chelsea need to strengthen their defence and it is reported that Mourinho is keen on Porto’s highly rated youngster Eliaquim Mangala.
With a lot of potential arrivals at Chelsea, there will also be casualties. Fernando Torres may be forced out after a poor return from his record breaking transfer. The Spaniard has looked revitalised as of late. Even with 23 goals last season, Torres could be shown the door. David Luiz has been a revelation in the holding midfield role. He has been driving Chelsea on in the last few months and looks a world class player in that position. But it is believed that Mourinho is not a fan of Luiz’s defensive abilities. Then there’s John Terry. The man who lead Chelsea during Mourinho’s first era has been phased out by Rafael Benitez. Chelsea must look to the future and the Chelsea skipper may be a casualty of that.
It will also be interesting to see what he does with Oscar, Hazard and Mata. Benitez found a system to accommodate all three and Mourinho must look to do the same. Chelsea need these three as they are the creative influence on the team.
It will certainly be an interesting second coming for Mourinho. People say you should never go back. For Mourinho, time will tell if he’s made the right decision.