COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA
It’s a gossip revolving around managers on Monday morning, which is not nearly as boring as it sounds. We start with Jose Mourinho, whose Chelsea side lost to Bournemouth on Saturday as their nightmare start to the season continues.
According to The Times, Mourinho will be given a ‘last chance’ to save his job at Stamford Bridge, a task which centres around Chelsea’s Champions League future. They require a point in their final group game at home to Porto on Wednesday, and Matt Hughes and James Ducker claim that Mourinho ‘has been told’ that Chelsea must make the last 16 in order to ‘safeguard his position’.
Next up are the Daily Mirror, who report that Mourinho could be forced out ‘whether or not’ Chelsea qualify. Darren Lewis claims that the result at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, win, lose or draw, ‘is unlikely to have any bearing on the club’s decision-making over Mourinho.’
And we finish with The Sun, whose man Andrew Dillon brings us the EXCLUSIVE that this week is quite big for Chelsea. Yes, that is an EXCLUSIVE.
The last paragraph in Dillon’s story reads as follows:
‘But should Blues go out of the Champions League and then lose to Ranieri’s table-toppers it could force Abramovich’s hand — and get Mourinho sacked just a few months into a new four-year contract.’
The common theme throughout each and every newspaper is the word ‘could’. Mourinho ‘could’ go if Chelsea don’t qualify for the Champions League knockouts, he ‘could’ go if the Blues lose to Leicester next Monday; he ‘could’ also lead them to an unprecedented recovery to win the treble. He won’t, but he ‘could’, and we’re not claiming that as an EXCLUSIVE, either.
They’re all saying something without actually saying anything.
VAN GAAL TO STAY LONGER?
While the newspapers could not agree over the fate of Jose Mourinho, there is an almost unanimous line on Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal; United wish to persuade him to stay longer than his current deal.
Van Gaal signed a three-year contract with United in the summer of 2014, leaving a season-and-a-half for the Dutchman in what he has repeatedly labelled his last job in football management. But the Daily Express, the Daily Telegraph and The Guardian all report that the club’s hierarchy are happy with Van Gaal – this despite fan unrest – and are keen to discuss his future in the new year.
All do qualify such a claim, adding that United are considering alternatives if, as expected, Van Gaal hangs up his clipboard at the end of next season. One such alternative is Pep Guardiola, current Bayern Munich manager.
While the Express, the Telegraph and The Guardian are once again all in agreement that United are unlikely to move for the Spaniard, The Sun take a different route. Or they appear to. Their story, from Neil Custis, includes the following as the last two paragraphs (of a four-paragraph story):
‘United is Guardiola’s No1 pick and he could repeat the year out he took after his Nou Camp exit while he waits for it to become vacant.
‘LVG is set to retire in 2017 but United could offer an extension. But rivals Manchester City could move for Guardiola this summer despite manager Manuel Pellegrini’s new deal.’
Could, could, could, could, could. Guardiola ‘could’ take a year out in the hope of replacing Van Gaal, who ‘could’ be offered an extension by United. Meanwhile, Guardiola ‘could’ move to Manchester City instead.
The whole thing about Guardiola is particularly weird from The Sun, considering The Sun on Sunday was one of many to report on, er, Sunday, that United would avoid Guardiola whether or not he leaves Bayern next summer.
BRENDAN’S COMING HOME
Come on then, who has missed Brendan Rodgers?
The Northern Irishman has been out of work since his Liverpool sacking in October, but The Sun report that there could be a way back. Rodgers has been linked with Chelsea, England, any Qatari club, and even punditry with Richard Keys in such a short space of time, but how about a return to Swansea?
Rodgers ‘is being lined up for a shock return’ if under-pressure Swans boss Garry Monk is sacked. That is the claim from Phil Cadden, who reports that Rodgers, who earned promotion for the Welsh side during his first spell there before leaving for Anfield, ‘would be sounded out’ if Monk’s poor run continues.
HARRY KANE. MANCHESTER UNITED. £50m
Big claim from the Daily Star. Their EXCLUSIVE is that Manchester United want to sign Harry Kane for £50million in the summer. Considering this rumour has been around since the dawn of time, we aren’t sure which bit is EXCLUSIVE.
Could it be this paragraph?
‘United watched Kane again last Sunday against Chelsea and their dossier on him includes detailed computer analysis of his all-round game and character.’
This can be translated to: Manchester United are scouting Harry Kane. Or spying on him. Whatever.
AND THE REST
David Moyes has held talks with Swansea City over a quick return to management…Wallace heads the list of loanees being recalled by Chelsea…Ex-Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer is keen to replace Steve Clarke at Reading…Craig Bellamy is being lined up by Sky to step into Gary Neville’s boots as a football pundit…Liverpool are looking at Lorient and Portugal defender Raphael Guerreiro…Liverpool are interested in AC Milan goalkeeper Diego Lopez.