The headlines that have been pretty relentless these days. Will the ‘Special one’ come back to his special place? There have been claims of text messages to players (which, if truth be told, never stopped after he left), meetings with Chelsea’s higher officials (wouldn’t be surprising, in the small world of elite European football), a house in Chelsea (he’s had one for almost 10 years), and that most spurious of euphemisms – ‘talks’.
Nobody does ‘talks’ better than Jose Mourinho and it would be more worthy of headlines if there were no talks. So what could be driving all of this? At the moment, there are a lot of people with things to sell. Jose is at that stage in his career cycle, where he is selling himself. Remember in the months before he left Inter, and in the months before he failed to leave Real, when Jose was linked with every big job barring the head of the International Monetary Fund? That seems to be where we are now. It seems highly likely that he will leave the Bernabeu in the summer, and these stories suit him because they are far more effective than him taking his CV down to the local job centre.
Chelsea too have things to sell – season tickets (there is more than a little concern in some quarters about shifting these in the light of this season’s events); merchandise; Brand Chelsea in general. Tickets, even, for Monday night’s Brazil v Russia game where, despite back page headlines to the contrary, he went unseen (a pic of him looking all handsome amid security and baying crowds at the Bridge has been confirmed as an old shot taken by a Daily Mail snapper). None of the headlines harm the marketability of all that – so why would anyone want to stop them?
Chelsea know they need a new manager, and are actively looking. The difficulty remains getting someone who is willing to be Ringmaster of their circus – for a limited period of time – without any actual power to decide what happens in the tent. Someone desperate to be Henry VIII’s seventh wife in the full knowledge of what happened to the six previous gals’ efforts to change his ways.
Football is unpredictable. And no two corners of it are less predictable than those occupied by Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho. Maybe, one day, the star-crossed lovers’ paths will again meet.
Even if Mourinho did manage to win the UCL this year, such high is his standards that it will still remain a poor outing in the La liga.