What next for José?
Arsenal may have a window of opportunity to secure his services. This is because there are reasons to believe neither Manchester club wants or needs him right now, and there would be problems with a return to Chelsea. With some promising young English talent, like Chelsea had in 2004, Arsenal could appeal to him as a project, where he can lead them to fulfilling their potential as they reach maturity. However would he want to come to a club not in the Champions League? For the job to be available in 2013 Arsenal will almost certainly have failed to qualify for next season’s competition, so it’s unlikely he would want a lost season in terms of European football. In 2008 he took on the challenge of delivering Inter Milan’s holy grail of the Champions League, will doing the same for Arsenal appeal to him? Despite all of these points, I feel this is an opportunity Arsenal will pass up, as Arsène Wenger is going nowhere this summer.
This is in my view where Mourinho is most likely to end up. Mourinho’s heart is probably still at Stamford Bridge, due to the bond he had with the players and fans. He may very well consider it an unfinished job due to his failure to win the Champions League in his time there. However, his preferred style of football is incompatible with that demanded by Roman Abramovich. The biggest obstacle is the falling-out they had in his time there. It is clearly Roman’s way or the high-way at Chelsea, so will the owner want to go back on that golden rule?
If the gossip columns are to be believed, Mourinho’s ambition is to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson before managing the Portuguese national team. This is unlikely to happen in the near future for a number of reasons. Sir Alex Ferguson is not retiring this summer, or for a number of years yet, when Mourinho will probably be on the market again. I feel Ferguson wants to take on the challenge Manchester City pose to his team’s Premiership domination and win. Due to them being the “noisy neighbours” this challenge has whet his appetite more than that of Liverpool, Newcastle, Arsenal or Chelsea. Had the takeover at City never happened, the Scot may have already retired. Also, after having one manager for so long, do United really want a manager who moves on after three years? Do they want the instability he brings, despite the success he also brings?
Manchester City have the budget and the ambition to make a good fit with Mourinho. This is unlikely because of the influence of Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain at the club, despite a vacancy probably being available this summer due to their failure to launch any kind of defence of their title. When the Barcelona job came up in 2008 it was they who swayed the club away from Mourinho and on to the then relatively unproven Pep Guardiola. Mourinho may also not want to go to a second club with a benefactor model of ownership, after the problems he encountered at Chelsea. Also, taking this job would mean he could never take the Old Trafford job in the future, unlike the Arsenal or Chelsea jobs.