When Jose Mourinho was relieved of his duties as Chelsea manager in December 2015, the expectation was that farewells would be final. Flames of passion had briefly been rekindled between an ambitious club and fiery Portuguese coach, but they ultimately fizzled out again.
Turning to familiar faces is nothing new in sport, with prominent teams and personalities often willing to ignore advice that suggests you should ‘never go back’.
Jose Mourinho once went nine years and 150 games without losing a league match at home ? pic.twitter.com/dTK3XnkmnH
— GOAL (@goal) July 11, 2022
Chelsea have resisted the urge to retrace steps in the seven or so years since last indulging themselves in such an experiment, with faith instead being invested in the likes of Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri, Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel.
Graham Potter is the latest man to have inherited the reins, but he has found the going tough. The Blues have slipped to 66/1 in Premier League odds focused on top-four finishes, with Champions League qualification seemingly beyond them.
With serious regression being endured, Chelsea have found favour in Premier League tips hard to come by and are facing more big decisions when it comes to managerial appointments. While Potter has only been in his current post for a matter of months, the clock may already be ticking for him.
Various names are being thrown into the pot when it comes to another change in the dugout at Stamford Bridge, with Mourinho seemingly back in the mix for a potential third spell at the Blues helm. He is currently working at Serie A side Roma, but he has never been one to put down roots in any given surroundings.
The Chelsea speculation is attracting plenty of interest, with former Blues star Glen Johnson – who worked under the Portuguese between 2004 and 2007 – admitting that a sensational return to a spiritual home could happen. He has pointed out that an enigmatic character should never form part of long-term thinking, as a result of his itchy feet, but said on the potential for a winning mentality to be returned to the Blues’ ranks: “If he [Todd Boehly] replaced Potter, Jose Mourinho would walk through the door and get all the players’ attention and they would be close to winning the league within three years.”
Johnson is not the only one to suggest that Mourinho would be interested in making his way back to England, where he has also spent time with Manchester United and Tottenham. The man himself has also revealed that he “could’ve left” Roma in December 2022 but eventually decided to hang around in the Italian capital.
Jose Mourinho in the #PL
Title winner: ???
Manager of the Season: ???
Manager of the Month: ??? pic.twitter.com/j9F7cRUgsw
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 20, 2019
Mourinho is only tied by a contract at Stadio Olimpico through to the summer of 2024, so could be freed from that deal without too much trouble by a team with pockets as deep as those possessed by Chelsea. He would represent a gamble, but a more calculated one than has been taken in the recent past.
Roma are reluctant to contemplate life without their charismatic coach, with speculation from England being taken with a pinch of salt, but further struggles for Chelsea could leave them feeling a little anxious as history dictates that Mourinho finds interest from west London hard to resist.
Photo by Unsplash