Premier League - Papers: Mourinho back in Blue?

Mon, 23 May 08:58:00 2011

Jose Mourinho is being lined up for a sensational return to the Chelsea manager's job, according to Monday's papers.

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The Daily Mail claims that the Special One has buried his differences with Roman Abramovich, opening the door for the Real Madrid boss to return to Stamford Bridge.

As for Ancelotti, all the papers report the grotty news that the Italian was sacked in the corridor immediately after his post-match press conference on Sunday.

The Times claims that the Italian walked straight out of the room where he had been giving his post-match Goodison Park press conference - in which he said he was expecting a meeting about his future "next week" - and bumped into Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay, who gave him the news then and there.

It hardly seems a decent way to treat the man who brought you the double, particularly when you consider that the club have confirmed that the decision was indeed taken "some time ago".

Then again, his £6 million pay-off will no doubt ease the pain.

But was the decision correct? Most of the papers are outraged at the treatment of a man whose grace under pressure has been a credit to English football.

Richard Williams in The Guardian argues that showing him the door was the right decision, however, claiming that all the Italian did was lead a team built by other men to the double last year, and pointing out that "Ancelotti seemed unable to consolidate a good start to the campaign or to imbue the side with real consistency".

Speculation about who will replace Ancelotti is already rife - as it has been for several weeks - with most papers believing that Porto's quadruple-winning coach Andre Villas-Boas is the hot favourite. The Mail's Mourinho claims notwithstanding, Guus Hiddink is also mentioned widely as a serious contender.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Hiddink is the top choice, and that the Blues have "stepped up their efforts" to prise the Dutchman away from his job running the Turkish national team.

But the broadsheet also brings up a more surprising name: that of Mark Hughes, who has been quietly impressive at Fulham since taking over. And at least Abramovich would save a few quid on relocation costs given that Sparky is already based in the right postcode.

Manchester United are still celebrating a 19th top flight title, but one man at the Red Devils who'll be feeling less cheery is Owen Hargreaves. The Sun reports that the club have finally given up on the injury-ravaged midfielder, and will refuse to offer him a new contract. Hargreaves's current deal runs out this summer.

Over at Arsenal, Nicklas Bendtner looks likely to move on after his dad told the Daily Mirror that the Dane is "100 per cent" open to a transfer this summer, while Blackpool manager Ian Holloway confirmed that he is expecting a mass exodus as the Seasiders' top players look to stay in the top flight. The Star reports the unsurprising news that Charlie Adam will be first out the door, claiming that the player's consistency in the second half of the season has established his value at £15m.

Also looking for a move to stay in the top flight will be Birmingham boss Alex McLeish, with Brian Woolnough in the Star claiming that Big Eck "deserves a bigger, better job", and that "Birmingham's relegation could and should have been avoided" if club owner Carson Yeung had stumped up the necessary readies in the transfer market.

Anyone who witnessed the Blues' disappointing efforts to save themselves at White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon might not agree - and if the Star is to be believed, McLeish is on his way to West Ham in any case.

And finally, Carlos Tevez's future at Manchester City is to be thrown into further doubt as the Telegraph reports that the striker will fly home to Argentina today instead of taking part in City's open top bus parade celebrating their FA Cup victory. It doesn't seem like the decision of a player who plans to be staying put for next season...


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