Jose Mourinho’s declaration that he will return to manage in the Premier League one day guarantees the self-appointed “special one” will be linked with every top job until he is “back home”.
The big question is ‘Where will Mourinho end up?’ The truth is you can make a compelling case for the current Real Madrid boss to take the helm at any of the EPL’s Big Six. But my belief is that the Portuguese maestro will wait for the top job, and the chance to succeed his good friend Sir Alex Ferguson – for the next couple of years at least.
There is no guarantee Mourinho will even get the job. There is a question mark over whether or not he can deliver the swashbuckling football United fans and their history demand. There is no sign of Sir Alex being ready to step aside as he closes in on the possibility of his greatest ever season in his 70th year.
Yet there is an aura and intoxicating self-belief about Mourinho that makes him absolutely perfect for United. And the very doubt about whether or not he could deliver at the world’s biggest and most famous club is precisely why the man at Madrid has his eyes on Old Trafford.
I’m not convinced Mourinho will get the chance to prove himself any time soon. Fergie has the hunger and desire to go on indefinitely. And how can anyone follow the most successful football manager in the history of the game? But I can’t think of anyone better equipped to take on the hardest job in football.
When Roman Abramovich forced Mourinho out of Chelsea, he made one of the biggest mistakes of his life. And despite his affection for his time at Stamford Bridge, the devil in Mourinho would give him immense satisfaction to come back to the Premier League and rub the Russian’s nose in the billionaire’s miserable failure to understand that some things money just can’t buy.
With Carlo Ancelotti joining the long list of Chelsea managers failing to win the Champions League, the Italian is vulnerable despite winning the Double last year, because this season will end trophy-less. As I predicted on transfer deadline day – if Chelsea fail to finish in the top four – Ancelotti will pay the price for the crazy 50 million pound signing of Fernando Torres. He may already be a dead man walking.
Either way do not expect Mourinho to rush back to Chelsea. He has already strongly rejected suggestions he will replace Roberto Mancini at Eastlands, whether or not Manchester City fail to end their 35 year wait for a trophy and miss out on a Champions League place.
Tottenham will undoubtedly make another move for Mourinho – who has previously turned them down on at least one occasion – when Harry Redknapp becomes the next England manager.
He will also be top of the list at Liverpooland Arsenal, should Kenny Dalglish step down or Arsene Wenger finally run out of time. Arsenal’s last trophy was the 2005 FA Cup and Liverpool have never won the Premier League.
Unless Fergie delivers another Treble next month and decides to bow out in style – and even then I think he will want to carry on – I expect Mourinho to bide his time and remain in Madrid for another season at least.
In the meantime, what are the odds now on my prophecy coming true and Fergie having to conquer Mourinho’s Madrid at Wembley to win the Champions League?