Should 'Special One' return to the Bridge?

TEAMtalk guest Rich Kitto considers the possible return of Jose Mourinho to Chelsea and whether it is the right move for all involved.

Last Updated: 28/03/13 at 11:56 Post Comment

Jose Mourinho: Could return to Stamford Bridge this summer

Jose Mourinho: Could return to Stamford Bridge this summer

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In the absence of domestic fixtures in the Premier League over the last week most column inches have been filled with mundane and predictable analysis on England's plight in the World Cup qualifiers.

So when Jose Mourinho recently gave us some new cryptic sound bites on his future to speculate, debate and dwell over, it could not have been better timed.

It seems that the self-proclaimed 'special one' may be about to take on a second chance at Stamford Bridge in a bid to claim his third league title with the club. But is moving back to the club he left 'by mutual consent' in 2007 genuinely the best decision for all involved?

On Tuesday, when speaking to Sky Sports News, this is what the enigmatic Portuguese manager had to say: 'One day I think naturally I have to be back to English football or to Chelsea or to another club. Chelsea is in my heart, so one day I have to be back.'

Some papers say he's reached a provisional agreement, others state he won't rule out a return, but all arrows are pointing in one direction - Chelsea Football Club. Yes it seems that the man who brought the Blues their first domestic title in 50 years, and then secured it the following season, feels he has unfinished business in West London.

When presented as manager at Real Madrid, following a historic treble with his previous club Internazionale, he claimed he wasn't Harry Potter and couldn't perform miracles. Well in the eyes of the Chelsea faithful he's their saviour, so they'll be praying that hes scratched up on his magic in past few years.

After all, the Chelsea supporters are desperate for this. They want it so badly they dare dream about it for fear of waking up. Their prodigal son will soon return, assure everybody that its going to be just fine, and then rid them of the memories of doom and gloom under their current manager.

But whilst Mourinho is indeed a wonderful coach, it cannot be hidden that there is a lot of work to be done should he return to the Bridge. An ageing spine, a misfiring striker, a lack of quality in depth, the restrictions of Financial Fair Play and the possibility of life without Champions League football suggest that this could very well be his biggest challenge to date should he accept it.

Mourinho appears to be the complete antithesis of Rafa Benitez. Drawing them in breath together takes you back to their famous battles in the Champions League between Liverpool and Chelsea at which point the Spaniard may have said something off key about handing out free flags. Charming, sophisticated, fashionable and likeable - Mourinho has the swagger of a care-free film star, whilst Benitez has the demeanour of his tight-fisted accountant.

But scratch below the surface and a similar paint colour begins to show through. It's been said that Ambramovich instructed Benitez, and his predecessor Roberto Di Matteo, to play attractive and entertaining football, and the signings of Hazard, Oscar, Moses and Ba certainly supports that.

Benitez of course has since been criticised for not implementing it, and that's where the return of Mourinho would be an interesting one. Whilst Jose may be extremely personable and a father figure for his burgeoning players, when compared to the distant Spaniard, they are both tacticians of the game and will nullify the opposition however they see fit. The manner in which Mourinho's Inter Milan team dispatched of Barcelona - the best team in the world - in 2010 was an absolute masterclass in discipline.

Mourinho has his way of doing things, he wants complete control of the club (much like Benitez) and nobody is going to stop him from doing that. At the time of his previous dismissal at Chelsea - where his broken relationship with Ambramovich was as much to blame as a poor start in the league - Pat Nevin described Jose as 'a very individual man that thinks he should be the power of the club'. Well that hasn't changed, and whether it be the Portugeuse or the Russian, somebody must soften their stance, though that seems very unlikely.

Whilst Mourinho has brought success and glory to every club he's been at, he's more of a 'love em and leave em' type of a guy than a 'let's get a joint bank account together' gentleman. He was at Porto for two seasons, Chelsea for three, Inter for two, and seems likely to leave Real Madrid after three. Although it can be argued that he achieved what he wanted at those clubs (with the exception of Chelsea) and therefore that's why he moved on, the one thing the Blues need is long-term stability.

Some quarters are suggesting that a move back to Chelsea is purely a stop gap to get his foot back in the door of the Premier League before taking over Sir Alex Ferguson's mantle at Manchester United - which is a job he's clearly interested in after his 'humble' appraisal that the best team lost when Real and United squared up in the Champions League earlier this month.

Having been extremely savvy with his previous managerial moves - either joining clubs with great ambition or great foundation - such a suggestion appears to make sense. Perhaps the fans are so desperate for him to return and bring back the good times that they'll take whatever bit of Mourinho they can get, but they know better than any what a short-term outlook can do.

Ultimately, the decision may hinge on whether the club secures Champions League football next season, and as such nobody will play more of a role in determining that than the man who ensured Mourinho never won it when previously in charge of Chelsea. Benitez has wanted the support of the crowd since he took over at the club, and he may just have it now to set up a thrilling conclusion to the season. Thank you Jose.

Rich Kitto

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sn'tthis strange. Last season we were worried that we were stuck with a Dinosaur in Moyes while Liverpool and Everton were disappearing into the distance with their young, spritely managerts, playing football from heaven. Progressive managers, they said. Managers who understand the modern game.........

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