The two most sought after managers in the world were, up until two days ago, Pep Gurdiola and Jose Mourinho. But now that Guardiola has decided to join Bayern Munich (see Stowe Gregory’s article, “Pep Guardiola To Join Bayern Munich”), that just leaves Mourinho still spinning on the elite managers’ merry-go-round.
Mourinho, the self proclaimed “Special One,” is abrasive and emotional, but very successful. He has won two UEFA Champions League titles with Porto and Inter Milan. He is the only manager to win the league title in the top three leagues in Europe: England, Italy and Spain.
He has also won the league in Portugal, and steered Chelsea to its first League title in 50 years, before falling out with the Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, and leaving by “mutual consent.”
He is now at Real Madrid and having his worst start to a season ever, falling out with the board, prominent players, the press, and in particular the fans, who have started to boo him for dropping goal-keeping legend Iker Cassilas.
So the question is: Where is he going? Like most detective work, it is a process of elimination.
Firstly, there are only a handful of European clubs that can afford him. This would rule out Italian clubs, as the big money is no longer in Serie A.
The usual suspects in Spain can also be ruled out. Mourinho is currently at Real Madrid and desperate to leave, with his team in an unacceptable third place in La Liga, eighteen points behind Barcelona. They would never have him at Barcelona even if he reincarnated through five lifetimes.
Fabulously wealthy Russian clubs, such as Anzhi Makhackala, bankrolled by the billionaire Suilieman Kerimov, can be dismissed owing to geographical location and life-style.
Bayern Munich is also out, owing to Guardiola confirming his decision to join the German champions. So we have done our detective work of elimination and, for me, only four clubs remain in the frame: Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Arsenal. So let’s take a look at them.
Even at the ripe old age of 71, Sir Alex Ferguson is not going to relinquish the reins at Old Trafford any time soon – so farewell, Manchester United.
And then there were three.
Roman Abramovich ultimately sacked Mourinho – so it’s very unlikely that he will return to Chelsea. That just leaves Arsenal and Manchester city.
Arsenal is probably the best-run club in English football. It is a stable and traditional club that historically does not make knee-jerk decisions based on a quick fix. Also, Arsene Wenger has been manager since 1996, and there are no real signs of him quitting or being ousted. So for these reasons, Mourinho won’t be going there.
With the detective work done and dusted, I now pronounce judgement.
Mourinho will be sentenced to three years at Manchester City, where he will buy who he wants, winning cups, the league, and possibly a Champions League final appearance, before it all turns sour and he moves on somewhere else.
Of course; my evidence could be inadmissible, and the verdict overturned.
Follow me on twitter: @garytroia