Jose Mourinho preparing for Chelsea response next season
Jose Mourinho’s second spell in west London certainly hasn’t been as enchanting as his first so far. Re-initiated in front of British media almost immediately upon arrival; the press conference was more like a jovial school reunion.
The man who had once arrogantly, by his own admission, declared himself as ‘The Special One’, was back, and amongst friends. Subsequently, he was ‘The Happy One’.
Unlike the last time, when he arrived with a list of targets for oil rich boss Roman Abramovich, he declared he was all in all satisfied with his squad. As a result, only Andre Schurrle, Willian, Marko van Ginkel, Samuel Eto’o, and Mark Schwarzer arrived – the latter two being free transfers.
This was perhaps one of Mourinho’s first mistakes. Another foray into the transfer market in January added Nemanja Matic and Mohammed Salah to the Blues ranks. The former has proved indispensable, and Salah, still only 21 has shown glimpses of brilliance. Both players being cup-tied for the Champions League, no doubt affected Chelsea’s chances of winning the tournament.
With question marks hanging over the futures of several players in the squad including strikers Demba Ba, Fernando Torres, and Samuel Eto’o, as well as fans favourite Frank Lampard, there could be a significant squad restructure.
Chelsea, who are 2/1 to win the Premier League in 2014/15, haven’t been as ruthless in front of goal ever since Didier Drogba left. As a result, persistent reports have linked them to Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa, with some outlets in Madrid stating that he has already signed a contract with the Blues.
PSG’s capture of David Luiz has left Chelsea short of character in the middle of the park. Although strictly a defender, Mourinho preferred to utilise the Brazilian further up the pitch, at times alongside compatriot Ramires. It is believed ‘The Happy One’ has identified Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane to replace him, who he managed when he was in charge at the Bernabeu, though Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala, and Roma based Mehdi Benatia are also understood to be on his shortlist.
Decisions will have to be made over the futures of Belgian pair Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois, who has been on loan at Atleti for the last three years, recently helping them win La Liga. It is unlikely he will want to return to Stamford Bridge and play second fiddle to Petr Cech. Lukaku has spent two successful seasons on loan at Premier League clubs West Brom and Everton, and has shown he is capable of scoring goals.
However the summer unfolds, no doubt Mourinho will have a few more tricks up his sleeve, as he prepares to work his magic once more.