Where next for Jose Mourinho?
Jose Mourinho ultimately failed to make Manchester United a force again. The Portuguese hasn’t returned to management since he was sacked eight months ago.
Having brought a little optimism to United supporters with a first-season double, Europa League, EFL Cup, then finishing Premier League runners-up in 2017/18, Mourinho lost his grip on Old Trafford. He cut a frustrated figure, constantly biting back at journalists, even questioning his own players publicly. It affected the Red Devils’ performance. They had 26 points after 17 games last campaign, their worst total at that stage for 27 years.
Mourinho’s dismissal seemingly split United fans. There are those who believe he had to go due to his negative approach and more importantly, poor results. Others still think of him as ideal to bring back their team’s former glory.
The latter camp is backed by Mourinho’s stunning CV. Since starting out in 2000, overseeing Porto, Chelsea, Internazionale, and Real Madrid, the 56-year-old’s won eight league titles, six domestic cups, as well as conquered Europe, twice.
Mourinho is eager for more success. In March, he let it known he’d turned down four job offers but hoped to be back this summer. Then at July’s end, the Setubal-born told Sky Sports, ‘I have some time to think, to rethink, to analyse and what I feel is exactly that ‘Ze’ (his nickname as a boy) is full of fire. I miss my football, I have the fire.’’
In the same interview, Mourinho stated his expectations: ‘’I have to be patient and that is the most difficult thing because I had the impulse during this period so many times. I have to wait exactly for the right one (club). My focus is on the biggest ones.’’
So, with that, what’s Mourinho’s next move?
A return to Chelsea isn’t folly. He’s had huge success at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have gone an inexperienced route with Frank Lampard, whose side currently sit 13th, on four points from three matches. If it doesn’t work out, Mourinho could come to their rescue again.
Another possibility, albeit he’d have to bid his time, a second spell at Inter. He’s respected at the Giuseppe Meazza. Should Nerazzurri boss Antonio Conte not build on his charges’ opening victory, Mourinho may be needed.
Returning to Real Madrid is more plausible right now. He’s held in high regard at the Santiago Bernabeu. There’s doubt regarding Zinedine Zidane’s ability to succeed without Cristiano Ronaldo. Los Blancos dropped two needless points at home to Real Valladolid on Saturday. Cue Mourinho, perhaps.
A Premier League comeback is largely blocked at present. Manchester City and Liverpool almost certainly wouldn’t consider Mourinho even if Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp entered into difficulties. Similar applies to Tottenham Hotspur, Mauricio Pochettino as well as Arsenal, Unai Emery.
Should Mourinho want a challenge, Everton can be it. The Toffees have big ambitions. Marco Silva is yet to show he’s capable of achieving them. His team sit 12th after their defeat at Aston Villa a week ago. A proven winner may be required sooner than later.
Serie A’s two stand-out sides, Juventus, Napoli are in good hands. Neither Maurizio Sarri nor Carlo Ancelotti is expected for the chop any time soon. Marco Giampaolo, meanwhile, is less secure at AC Milan. Mourinho as a replacement is doubtful, though, owing to his Inter loyalty.
That leaves Roma. Having finished sixth last term, the Giallorossi are attempting to compete with Italy’s big boys again. A 3-3 at home to Genoa on Sunday isn’t an encouraging start for Paulo Fonseca. Mourinho’s defensive mastery is possibly on standby.
Going back to La Liga is another option. Rule out Barcelona. Although many believe Ernesto Valverde isn’t up to the job, Mourinho wouldn’t be welcomed because of past grievances.
He’d enjoy greater affection at Atletico Madrid. Los Rojiblancos’ new-look team have won their opening two contests but should things slip, Diego Simeone could call time on his eight years to seek a new adventure. Mourinho is an almost perfect fit. A drawback is his admiration for rivals Real.
If Madrid don’t come knocking, the Bundesliga might. It’s doubtful to be Borussia Dortmund. Lucien Favre has earned trust, guiding his side to a title challenge in 2018/19 before winning this campaign’s first two league games.
Bayern Munich is different. The Bavarians have already dropped points this season, drawing 2-2 at home to Hertha Berlin. Their European status is gradually eroding under Niko Kovac’s leadership. Appointing a world-class manager like Mourinho can set them back on track.
He’s also been linked to Ligue 1’s Olympique Lyonnais, Lille, and Monaco in recent times. However, should France entice, Mourinho’s likely to want its division’s top job.
Champions Paris Saint-Germain face a few problems. Neymar aside, Les Parisiens haven’t transferred their domestic form into Europe. They lost to Rennes two weeks ago, too. Thomas Tuchel is under pressure, make no mistake. Mourinho’s waiting patiently.
Of all the Special One’s potential destinations, three are more imaginable at present. Real Madrid, Bayern, and PSG. His playing style will put off Germany’s giant. Therefore, Mourinho’s next club is a tussle between Zidane and Tuchel for who can hold out the longest. Yesterday’s Champions League draw pits them against each other.
For what it’s worth, my money’s on Mourinho arriving in Paris.