It appears to be a case of; the more things change, the more they stay the same at Chelsea Football Club. Former Chelsea manager José Mourinho now looks set to make peace with owner Roman Abramovich and resume his position as Chelsea manager. The Russian multi-billionaire has been very impressed with Mourinho’s progress at Real Madrid CF. The Portuguese is believed to have had talks with Abramovich and the way is now clear for him to take over at the end of the season in the aftermath of the sacking of countryman Andres Villas-Boas.
Former Chelsea midfielder Roberto Di Matteo, who had been working as Villas-Boas’s assistant, has been named as interim manager until the end of the season. The remaining 11 games of the season are massive for the Blues as it is vital that they bring Champions League football to the club. Europe’s top players won’t be keen on a move to the club if Champions League football is not at Stamford Bridge and the self proclaimed “Special One” would be slow to return as manager if that was the case.
The real intrigue at Chelsea now surrounds Abramovich’s search for an eighth manager in his eight years as owner of the west London club. Since buying Chelsea in 2003, Abramovich has dismissed Claudio Ranieri, Mourinho, Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelotti and now Villas-Boas. Whilst nothing has been confirmed; Mourinho remains the favourite to return, though the name Rafael Benitez has also been mooted.
Matching the owner’s demands for success with style has proved an almost impossible task for any manager, though Mourinho appears to have come as close as anyone to achieving. Abramovich’s holy grail however, is the Champions League and only Avram Grant (2007-’08) has reached the Final of that competition as Chelsea manager.
Grant was never Abramovich’s “man” however and the phenomenal success which Mourinho has had at Real Madrid looks set to turn the Russian’s head. That the Portugeuse has overseen Madrid to an almost unasailable 10 point lead (with 13 games to play) atop La Liga over the mighty Barcelona – a side many have argued as the greatest club side of all time – is a feat which has been noticed by chairmen around the continent.
This combined with the fact that Mourinho will be looking for new employers and was spotted house hunting in the English capital over the weekend will add further weight to the Chelsea rumour mill. Is Mourinho set for his much heralded return to the Premier League? The English football circus will instantly become immensely more entertaining should that be the case.