Where next for Jose Mourinho?
Jose Mourinho remains without a job and - love him or loath him - the world of football is a lot less entertaining for it.
Not necessarily in terms of what he brings in terms of tactics – Manchester United were painful to watch more often than not during the final stages of his tenure – but in terms of interviews and withering put downs of opponents there are few, if any, better.
“For me, pressure is bird flu. I’m feeling a lot of pressure with the problem in Scotland. It’s not fun and I’m more scared of it than football.”
“When you enjoy what you do, you don’t lose your hair, and [Pep] Guardiola is bald. He doesn’t enjoy football.”
And who can forget this gem?
“I think [Arsene Wenger] is one of these people who is a voyeur. He likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea.”
Sure, we’re still treated to some of his musings during the odd bit of TV work these days but it just doesn’t carry the same gravitas when it doesn’t come from a manager.
The ‘Special One’ was linked with Lyon earlier this season but they instead appointed Rudi Garcia. Jean-Michel Aulas, the Lyon president, said Mourinho turned them down as “he has already chosen another club” but that was over a month ago now and yet still we wait for Mourinho to rock up somewhere.
Here is a rundown of a few of the clubs he’s been linked with and the likelihood of Mourinho joining them.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery is under pressure and Mourinho has emerged as a shock contender to take charge. It was even claimed the club had held ‘secret’ meetings with the former Chelsea boss.
Those rumours have since been all but dismissed and it is almost impossible to imagine him taking charge at the Emirates.
Tottenham have had a poor start to the season but manager Mauricio Pochettino remains highly respected and seemingly could be tempted by a move to one of Europe’s big guns.
Could Mourinho be the man to replace him when/if the times comes? No, probably not, he just doesn’t fit the profile. Spurs went with a younger manager when they hired Pochettino and that’s worked pretty well and the chances are they’ll take the same path again next time.
Zinedine Zidane is on borrowed time at the Bernabeu even if results have been a little better of late.
Mourinho wasn’t particularly popular in Madrid during his time as manager in the Spanish capital but did win the La Liga crown with Los Blacos in the 2011-12 campaign.
If Real did axe Zidane, the Portuguese coach could well be an option for the Spanish giants on a short-term deal until the end of the season. It still doesn’t look particularly likely but doesn’t appear to be completely out of the question.
Pochettino was supposed to be Bayern’s top choice after they axed Niko Kovac. Mourinho could be a contender but the German giants seem pretty happy with interim boss Hans-Dieter Flick right now.
How about Bayern’s rivals Borussia Dortmund? It was a rumour but sporting director Michael Zorc shut them down as he stated the reports “lack any substance” – which is about as emphatic a ‘no’ as possible.
There have also been rumblings regarding Juventus and Inter Milan but respective managers Maurizio Sarri and Antonio Conte look pretty settled with the two Serie A giants for now.
At the moment it looks as if Mourinho will have Christmas off, at least, but things can change quickly in football. Even though no clear candidates stand out, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him back in the dugout in the not-too-distant future, even if there are no clues in regards to a destination just yet.