In the moments after Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement from Manchester United, they immediately became second favourites for next season’s Premier League title. The newly installed favourites were their “noisy neighbours” Manchester City, managed by Roberto Mancini.
And then Mancini was sacked. So what happens now? Do United return to the top of the betting? Or does the baton pass to the next team along, in this case Chelsea?
The truth is, with all the managerial toing-and-froing of recent days, Roman Abramovich’s club should now be the favourites for next season’s title; even if they are soon to be without a manager of their own.
Because we all know who that manager is going to be, with all his self-aggrandizing and undoubted tactical nous, and with no chance of an ill-conceived “interim” tacked on to his title.
When Jose Mourinho finally stops with the cryptic sound-bites and starts with the matter of making Chelsea great again – that is when they will be the favourites for England’s top prize once more.
There is work to be done, most notably up front where Fernando Torres’s superhero alter-ego has done good things rather than great in recent months. A new striker must be signed this summer, someone to put the finishing touch to the considerable creativity supplied by the likes of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar.
While surely the majority of Chelsea fans believe it is time for Romelu Lukaku to stop scoring for others and start scoring for them.
Of course it could all be a smoke-screen. But let’s just say if and when it is finally declared that Mourinho has returned, it will be less breaking news more a tickertape of I-told-you-so’s.
Midfielder Mata has already declared his desire to secure the league title next season.
“Next year will be so different,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport, as if he already knew what the rest of us only think we do.
“For me the Premier League is a challenge now. It is a trophy that I am missing and a trophy that I want to win.”
Should Mourinho return, the Spaniard may get his wish.
Do you think Mourinho will return to Stamford Bridge? And can he bring sustained success back to Chelsea?
image: © tpower1978