But there are several reasons why Mourinho’s next move shouldn’t be Chelsea.
The first reason is precisely why people think he should return to Stamford Bridge – he’s done it before, he’ll go back and the fans will chant his name. While you could admire the single-mindedness of Chelsea’s fans (unless you’re Rafael Benitez), it’s a bit one-dimensional to think it’ll be a Groundhog Day scenario.
Back when Jose was so successful at Chelsea, everything was set up for him to be a winner – the club were already progressing (they had just finished second), they had a very good squad but they lacked that toughness and defensive ability that Mourinho brings to clubs. They had not yet won anything, and it was his destiny to bring silverware to Stamford Bridge.
Fast forward a few years and you see a very different Chelsea – a Chelsea who managed to win what they could not win under Mourinho: the Champions League.
For Mourinho to be anything like the success he was before, he has to win the Champions League with Chelsea. Not the title, not the FA Cup, the Champions League.
And he has to do it with a team that is not one of his own making and – unless Roman Abramovich is willing to sanction a clear-out of multi-million pound players he’s only just brought in – a squad that is not really the type he likes to work with.
Mourinho likes to play a defensively-minded, direct game that – at the attacking end – revolves around one star player, a Didier Drogba or a Cristiano Ronaldo. Remember what happened to the likes of Arjen Robben and Joe Cole at Chelsea the first time? Mourinho tried to drill the flair out of them. Robben was lucky in that he got out quickly, but poor Cole was ultimately ruined by it.
It is ironic that the much reviled Rafael Benitez turned Chelsea into one of the best attacking sides around, but how is Mourinho going to fare with free spirits like Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar? Is he going to turn them into functional wingers? I’m not sure it’s the right club for him any more, not in terms of personnel anyway.
There is also the question of his personal relationships – he fell out with Roman Abramovich the first time, and who’s to say he won’t again? Both are temperamental, and the owner is a touch irrational in his decision making.
Aside from Chelsea not being the right choice, I think there’s a much better option for him, one which suits both Mourinho and the club.
Assuming he wants to come back to England – which he loves and where he is loved – Manchester City is made for Jose to come in and wave his magic wand.
The squad under-achieved last season, the dressing room needs a motivator and a boost after the nightmare that was Roberto Mancini, and the defence and keeper need working on. While there are lots of attack-minded players there, they are of a more direct nature than at Chelsea and several have been at City for a while anyway and could do with being moved on.
Additionally, the club has not exactly been spoiled with success – an FA Cup and a Premier League title were most welcome, but they have flopped in Europe. Chelsea have won the Champions League but City haven’t even got out of the group stage. I have no doubt that Mourinho would take them to at least the quarter finals.
Mourinho loves a challenge, he loves to be loved and both those criteria would be met at City.
All this is assuming that Jose is limiting himself to England.
I see PSG as an even better fit for Mourinho, who does speak French and already has a squad tailor-made to his requirements – they are solid defensively, have a lot of physical players, a smattering of creative forwards and the one, big target man he can arrange his game around. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic, PSG have their Didier Drogba.
And challenge-wise, imagine if Mourinho brought the Champions League to France? Brought PSG their first European Cup? Paris would go crazy for him, he would be a hero for life. They’re already halfway there – they were unfortunate to lose to Barcelona in the quarters – and I could really see him doing it with Paris.
There are no guarantees it would work out at Chelsea and I wonder that he may ruin his reputation. Mourinho is a bit crafty though, and you don’t know how he’s thinking – is he using Chelsea to deflect the attention away from somewhere else as he manoeuvres his next move? All this talk of loving the club is great, but does he really want to return? I’m not so sure.
If he comes to England he should try and go to City; if not, PSG would see him as a real coup and it would be a fantastic challenge. He would be loved at both, which is something he lacked at Real and even Inter. He certainly should avoid Chelsea.