Forget Mourinho, it’s time for an Italian job at Chelsea
But Jose Mourinho possibly going back as coach? Even in the wacky world of Stamford Bridge, it is surely just paper talk and fantasy.
Mourinho is a shrewd man and he will know as well as anyone that coaches very rarely succeed in a second stint at a club. (See our blog from when Kevin Keegan was reappointed at Newcastle.)
The dynamics of Chelsea are also very different from when he took over in 2004.
Back then, Claudio Ranieri had already laid the foundations of a Premier League-winning side. Arjen Robben and Petr Cech were signed for the next season before Mourinho arrived. The Portuguese also had bags of cash to bring in Drogba, etc etc.
This time it would be different. Chelsea could lose Drogba and a number of other players, meaning a large rebuilding job would have to be undertaken, just when Roman Abramovich’s appetite for investment appears to have waned.
Remember as well that it was only in September that Mourinho’s relationship with the Chelsea hierarchy completely collapsed. Media reports say Abramovich has since had some “cosy chats” with his former coach and even bought him a car, but working together again would bring the same tensions, the same clashes of ego.
Assuming the second coming for Mourinho is not about to take place, where does that leave us?
Frank Rijkaard, Roberto Mancini, Sven-Goran Eriksson and Russia coach Guus Hiddink have all been mentioned as possible candidates but the best answer to Chelsea’s problems might well be Marcello Lippi, who has been out of work since Italy’s World Cup triumph two years ago.
Lippi, incidentally one of the few coaches to enjoy success in a second spell when he returned to Juventus, has been waiting for a perfect opening.
He said he would have talked to Barca if they hadn’t appointed Pep Guardiola. He has also said he wouldn’t fancy learning English. Yet England coach Fabio Capello’s first English interview at the weekend was impressive.
Lippi’s language barrier would be easier to overcome than all of Mourinho’s baggage.
Mark Meadows, Milan
PHOTO: Jose Mourinho while manager of Chelsea at last year’s FA Cup final, Sep 20, 2007 REUTERS/Eddie Keogh