Monday’s Football Focus
We knew Jose Mourinho had returned to Chelsea last week, but somehow it didn’t feel real until the Portuguese gave his first press conference to a packed house back at Stamford Bridge earlier today.
And guess what? The Special One has morphed into The Happy One. This is the new Mourinho; humbler, more mature, more respectful, but above all happier. So happy he almost smiled.
But cut away all the talk and the razzmatazz and we are left with a world-class football manager, who, either side of helping to turn Chelsea into Premier League champions, took Porto, Inter-Milan and Real Madrid to domestic titles (as well as guiding the Portuguese and Italian clubs to Champions League triumphs).
Mourinho is on a four-year contract this time around, but Chelsea history suggests that there is likely to be a second divorce long before that and Coral go 4/6 that the 50-year-old will NOT be in charge for the first game of the 2015-16 season.
On a more positive note, they offer 7/2 Mourinho being next season’s LMA Manager of the Year and 6/1 that he wins FIFA’s World Coach of the Year.
It’s 5/2 Chelsea winning the Premier League title, 18/1 the double (FA Cup) and 150/1 the Treble (Champions League).
It’s a given, of course, that Mourinho will be rearranging his squad and that doesn’t just mean replacing his old lieutenants John Terry and Frank Lampard. It seems that one of his first priorities will be changing his strike force with Wayne Rooney, Edin Dzecko and Edinson Cavani all on the radar.
Cavani apparently has a £53 million buy out clause at Napoli, for whom he scored 29 times last season, but this is a deal which seemed to edge a little closer yesterday when the Uruguayan said how much he would enjoy working with a manager of Mourinho’s calibre. Mind you, wisely keeping his options open, he also gave the thumbs up to incoming Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini and there is also a chance that new Napoli boss Rafa Benitez will persuade him to stay in Italy.
Whatever happens – and Real Madrid are also thought to be suitors – it should happen quickly once Cavani returns from the Confederations Cup in South America.
Meanwhile, there has been a twist in the tale of Robert Lewandowski with Borussia Dortmund now insisting they will not sell to main rivals Bayern Munich after everyone else assumed it was a done deal.
This gives Manchester United another sniff at the Polish international, but this is yet another striker Mourinho might well have an eye on.