Five manager and player reunions we want to see…

Date published: Friday 24th April 2020 8:45 - Sarah Winterburn

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They say you should never get back with your ex. But frankly, the sex is sometimes too good to resist…

 

Jurgen Klopp and Mario Gotze
“He taught me everything about professional football. He let me play. I often speak to Klopp. We never stopped talking. He knows me very well and that I am always looking for new challenges,” said Mario Gotze, who will be footloose and fancy-free this summer when his Borussia Dortmund contract expires. The word from Merseyside is that Klopp will resist a reunion – the Evening Standard said it ‘makes no sense’ – but we would urge him to choose sentiment over sense.

Never mind that Gotze is a shadow of his former self, with metabolic condition myopathy taking its toll on top of a damaging spell at Bayern Munich. Never mind that he has not hit double figures for Bundesliga goals since 2013/14 and you have to go back another season to find him reaching the same total for assists. Never mind that Liverpool’s future is built on promise rather than past potential. Never mind ‘sense’, because which cold-hearted grump doesn’t want to see the revitalisation of a magnificent young player in the loving arms of his true mentor?

 

Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi
Well, we can dream. “He is a player from Barcelona and he will stay there, that’s my wish for him to stay there,” said Pep Guardiola in February when asked about the latest of many suggestions that Messi could finally swap Barcelona for Manchester this summer. But he also repeatedly refers to Messi as the best footballer in the world (“don’t try to write about him, don’t try to describe him; just watch him”), so could he ever really resist a reunion?

That toasty warm feeling is absolutely mutual with Messi describing his four years under Guardiola as the very best of his career. And with reports of his increasing annoyance at Barcelona, is there time for one last hurrah? Unfortunately, a remote possibility probably became an impossible dream the second Manchester City got banned from the Champions League. Boo.

 

Carlo Ancelotti and James Rodriguez
“I’m very attached to James, I rate him very highly and he can certainly improve our team,” said Carlo Ancelotti. And if he thought that James Rodriguez could improve Napoli, he presumably believes the same about an Everton side that features Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi too often for comfort. Ancelotti was at Real Madrid when they signed James and at Bayern when they borrowed him, so the hat-trick could be completed at Everton.

One thing is clear: He is unwanted at Real Madrid. Another thing is also clear: Only the Premier League offers realistic options this summer. The three clubs said to be interested are Everton, Arsenal and Wolves; reports in Spain say James is ‘seduced’ by the Toffees because of the twinkling eyes (and coaching) of Ancelotti.

 

Brendan Rodgers and Philippe Coutinho
Although a move to Chelsea makes sense for Coutinho and the Blues, we selfishly want him to join Leicester and be reunited with the man who first brought him to these shores and gave him a whole barrel-load of confidence by grinning at him and telling him he was brilliant. “He is a great young guy, he was never a moment’s problem for me. He was a magical player to work with,” said Rodgers before it all went awry at Barcelona.

And Leicester might actually have a chance. Barcelona do not want to send Coutinho out on another loan and Rodgers might be the only coach confident enough to presume he could spark the very best of the Brazilian again. If this season is ever finished and the Foxes ever return to the Champions League, Leicester might boast the real Coutinho – complete with copious 25-yarders flying just over the bar – instead of just his tribute act.

 

Jose Mourinho and Marouane Fellaini
Because it would be funny. That is all.

 

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