The Reuters global sports blog
Would Mourinho face a predicament at Chelsea?
If the coaching merry-go-round puts Jose Mourinho back in the Chelsea hotseat after the 49-year old Portuguese left Stamford Bridge in 2007, it will be a testament to the old saying that nothing is impossible in football.
There seemed to be no way back for the self-acclaimed “Special One” after his acrimonious split with Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich, but their contrasting fortunes since have seemingly opened the door to what would be a spectacular return to English football for Mourinho.
However, if the speculation linking him with a comeback turns out to be true, it might end up an ill-judged failure.
Having won two successive league titles, the Italian Cup and the Champions League with Inter Milan, Mourinho is now in a commanding position to win the Spanish league title with Real Madrid and possibly break Barcelona’s stranglehold on Europe’s premier club competition too.
Chelsea, meanwhile, managed a solitary Premier League title under Italian Carlo Ancelotti in 2010 after coming agonisingly close to capturing the 2008 Champions League with Mourinho’s immediate replacement Avram Grant in charge.
Should Mourinho return to West London amid the fanfare he so thrives in, nothing less than emulating the accomplishments of his first spell in charge, when he won two league titles, the FA Cup and the League Cup, will do for either success-hungry Chelsea fans or Abramovich.
Both parties will also expect him to finally deliver the “Holy Grail” that is the elusive Champions League trophy.
Can Mourinho live up to the huge expectations and his own billing of being perhaps the one manager in the unforgiving modern-day club football capable of achieving instant success wherever he turns up?
It is more likely that his “second coming” at Chelsea might turn out to be a monumental flop, albeit through no fault of his own.
The growing strength of Manchester City and the ability of their arch-rivals and English champions Manchester United to stay at the pinnacle even when a decline seems imminent makes it very difficult for any Chelsea manager, including Mourinho, to mount an instant challenge for the Premier League title.
Likewise, Barcelona and Mourinho’s present club, Real Madrid, will in all likelihood be a mountain to climb in the Champions League for quite some time, even more so for Chelsea’s ageing squad which requires long-term rebuilding to be competitive again.
Luring his compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo and the likes with him to Chelsea could give Mourinho something to work with at Stamford Bridge other than a mixture of stalwarts past their prime and inexperienced though talented youngsters such as Daniel Sturridge.
But even that is no guarantee of immediate success, as Mourinho duly found out when he joined an incomparably more resourceful Real Madrid side from Inter in 2010. Should Mourinho come up with the goods at the Santiago Bernabeu, which would certainly help straighten out his reportedly deteriorating relationship with the board, he is perhaps better off staying there and steering clear of England.
Otherwise, it will take a very special effort from the Special One, with patience not being one of his or Abramovich’s virtues, to rekindle Chelsea’s glory days.