Mourinho alerts elite Premier League clubs to possible availability
Jose Mourinho has signalled to top Premier League clubs, principal among them his former employers Chelsea, of his potential availability in the summer by reiterating a desire to work in England again.
The Real Madrid head coach’s position at the Bernabeu has come under intense scrutiny in recent months as his side have slipped 18 points behind Barcelona and even trail city rivals Atletico by seven points. The gap left the title defence effectively wrecked by the turn of the year. That has prompted suggestions he will leave the club at the end of the season but, while his standing has suffered in Spain as Real have stuttered, his reputation in England remains buoyant.
A summer of change beckons with a number of high-profile clubs potentially looking for new managers. One of those will be Chelsea, who have employed Rafael Benitez on an interim basis until May.
While the prospect of turning to Mourinho would have felt unthinkable a few years ago when his relationship with Roman Abramovich was so fractured, that scenario now appears less improbable. The “Special One” won two Premier League titles in three glittering seasons at the club before leaving in autumn 2007.
The two have reconciled since and, on the basis that he could well depart Real in the summer. He will be under consideration when Chelsea start to address who should be Di Matteo’s long-term successor, a process that will gather pace most likely after the closure of this transfer window. The club remain keen on Pep Guardiola, but accept he may see his future elsewhere after his self-imposed year-long sabbatical.
Passion for the game
Mourinho’s desire to return to England would appear to offer some encouragement. Speaking in a video message of congratulation recorded for the launch of the Football Association’s 150th anniversary tomorrow, the two-time European Cup winning manager said: “My memories from English football could not be better . . . In England you feel the real passion for the game. You also don’t feel what we feel in almost every other country, which is the passion for clubs.
“So, my memories are great. I loved it from the first to the last day . . . so I don’t regret the day I left. But I know that one day I will come back because English football means a lot to myself.”
The Portuguese was in England earlier this week watching Real’s opponents in next month’s knockout phase, Manchester United, defeat Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday and attended a League Managers’ Association seminar at St George’s Park.