The storm clouds are not just hovering over Jose Mourinho's future at Stamford Bridge, they're ready to unleash after losing to Stoke on the weekend. That was Chelsea's third straight defeat in the English Premier League and it's left them in 16th spot, just three points above the relegation zone. Talk in English soccer circles suggest Mourinho has fallen out with certain players. On top of that he's been slapped with several disciplinary fines this year, served a one-match stadium ban and has been criticized for his treatment of former club doctor Eva Carneiro earlier this year.
Owner Roman Abramovich has a lot of thinking to do over the international break this weekend ahead of Chelsea's next EPL game against lowly Norwich at Stamford Bridge. Abramovich has so far backed his main man despite Chelsea's poor run of form and Mourinho's poor discipline this season. But he's losing patience and has fallen out with Mourinho once before. A loss to Norwich could well seal his fate, if Abramovich chooses not to act before then.
The good news for Mourinho is he doesn't need to concern himself with finding another job. Club chairmen around Europe will have scrutinizing every minute of this bubbling crisis, ready to step in with an offer should the Portuguese become available. Despite this season's poor form, Mourinho remains one of the most successful managers of the past decade and is still young enough to deliver at least another decade's worth of success. His personal trophy cabinet bulges with eight domestic league titles collected across four clubs. They're stationed next to two Champions League trophies and a host of individual awards including the 2010 World Coach Of The Year. Here are 10 managerial jobs Mourinho should consider.
10 Atlanta United
What better way to announce yourself as a force in Major League Soccer than to recruit one of the world's greatest managers? Atlanta don't enter the competition until 2017 and the managerial post is still a vacant one, so they should have time enough to pull this off. Club president Darren Eales is an Englishman and will know all about what Jose Mourinho could bring to the new team. Mourinho would also be able to attract a clutch of experienced star players who would slot right into the MLS system, blokes like John Terry who by 2017 will probably be looking to the U.S. as a place to extend their careers. This one's certainly a long shot but the thought must have crossed Eales' mind at some point. It would provide Mourinho with a fresh start from a media perspective and give him an entirely new challenge in the game. Stranger things have happened.
9 Leeds United
No doubt this job will be available again in the near future. Leeds owner Massimo Cellino changes managers more than he does underwear. Steve Evans was recently given the job, becoming the sixth manager in 20 months at Leeds and the 37th Cellino has hired in 20 years since entering the world of ownership when he took over Italy's Cagliari in the mid 1990s. Evans has won a couple in a row so that might just buy him a little time. But Leeds need someone with better credentials if they're ever to get back to the top. This was once England's best club, and a team feared across Europe.
Crippling financial woes roughly 15 years ago sent them tumbling out of the Premier League and into England's third tier before clawing their way back to the Championship where they sit today. Mourinho would certainly take some convincing to take over at Leeds. But it'd add perhaps the most impressive feather to his cap should he win promotion, something he's never been required to do before. Now that'd be a coup for Cellino.
8 Real Sociedad
With David Moyes now sacked, the door is open for a new manager at Real Sociedad. After 11 games this season, La Real are teetering just above the drop zone in La Liga. Mourinho could be just the savior. He knows the league inside out having won the title with Real Madrid in 2012. He also landed a Copa Del Rey and a Super Cup in three seasons with Madrid, plus made the Champions League semi finals every year he was there. Sociedad would certainly be a step down in terms of prestige, but it could be just the challenge Mourinho needs. The club spent heavily in the summer and could do so again with a new man at the helm. And let's be honest, who wouldn't want to trade in the dreariness of London for San Sebastian's sparkling beaches, golden sunshine and laid back lifestyle? Who knows, if Mourinho succeeds maybe they could build a big statue of him to go next to the one of Jesus that overlooks the city.
Celtic were once one of the biggest clubs in the world, but today they're barely a shadow of their former glorious selves. It's a tricky club to manage. For starters, success isn't judged by domestic form. With Rangers out of the picture, still recovering from the financial suicide that sent them to the bottom division of the Scottish league, a pass mark for Celtic is winning the league by about 20 points. Anything less is considered a poor season. The tricky thing for manager Ronny Deila is that he's judged on European performance, which comes so early in the season. Celtic are no longer strong enough to take advantage of their annual qualification for the Champions League. This time around Swedish side Malmo knocked them out of the competition before the group stages. Last year it was Slovenia's NK Maribor. It meant Celtic tumbled into the Europa League where they're currently last in their group. Deila's doing an adequate job, but Celtic need a man with extensive European experience to realize their Champions League aspirations.
Mourinho fits the bill perfectly, they just need to convince him to move up to Scotland which means even worse weather than London. Maybe the chairman could find him a nice place in Edinburgh, one of the world's most beautiful cities, and Mourinho could commute to Glasgow each day from there.
6 Manchester United
When Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, Mourinho's name was one of a whole host thrown in the hat as a possible heir at Manchester United. David Moyes was handed the role, and Mourinho later said that Ferguson didn't bother contacting him about the job because he knew he wouldn't be persuaded. Mourinho was still at Real Madrid at the time, and had his heart set on a return to Chelsea which is exactly what happened.
Fast forward a few years and Man United are being managed by Louis van Gaal, who fans have taken to booing for his negative style. The club resembles nothing of the English giant it was when Ferguson was in charge, and it's hard to imagine van Gaal's tenure will be a long one. While Mourinho hasn't shown much interest for this post in the past, things could be different now if stars align. He'd have money to spend. He'd remain in the English Premier League and he'd likely revel in the role of lifting United back to its place among European elite. There could well come a time where Mourinho and United need each other.
Last year's Serie A winners and Champions League runners up, are currently well off off the pace in Italy. The country's most successful club is languishing. Manager Massimiliano Allegri did well last season, but the club is chasing a fifth straight Serie A title and their performance this season has been unacceptable. Should things not improve, the door could be opened for Mourinho to step right in. He enjoyed a brilliant two year stint in Serie A managing Inter Milan earlier in his career winning two league titles and a Champions League. He'd be a perfect fit at Juventus and still has time to rescue this season on the domestic front.
Now this would be something. Mourinho replacing his biggest managerial rival in Arsene Wenger at one of Chelsea's biggest enemies in Arsenal. This isn't quite as outrageous as it might seem. Last month Wenger hinted that he could retire in 2017. That would potentially be at the end of next season with Wenger at 67 years old. Arsenal will be looking for a replacement credentialed enough to deliver a first league title since 2004. Even more importantly, they'll be looking for someone who can deliver Champions League success in Europe.
Wenger has successfully navigated his way to the knockout stages of that competition for 12 straight seasons, but he's never managed to win the tournament. Mourinho has won it twice, once with Porto and once with Inter Milan, and might just be the man to take Arsenal that next step. The fans might need convincing, particularly the Wenger loyalists, but that will change pretty quickly if he starts delivering trophies.
The time might just be right for Mourinho to try his hand at international management. The time also might be nigh for Brazil to appoint an overseas born manager for the first time in their history. It's early in a new World Cup cycle, so Mourinho would have a couple of years to prepare for Russia 2018. He speaks Portuguese too which is an added bonus and would be moving to a much nicer climate. After Brazil's spectacular implosion at last year's World Cup, manager Luiz Felipe Scolari was replaced by Dunga, returning for a second spell in charge of the country.
It was hardly an encouraging appointment, reappointing the man who left in disgrace after the failed 2010 World Cup where he chose not to select Neymar. Dunga's first major assignment resulted in a quarter final exit at this year's Copa America, another spectacular failure. The 'Special One' could well be the man to return Brazil to its summit at the top of international soccer.
2 Real Madrid
This is probably the most likely scenario of all. Mourinho has reportedly been in touch with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez about a return to the club, currently managed by ex-Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez. He spent three seasons with the Spanish giants before moving back to Chelsea, winning La Liga once and making the Champions League semi finals each year before leaving by mutual consent. The club is currently second in La Liga behind Barcelona. Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon stoked the fire earlier this season by claiming the club had tried signing Mourinho in the summer as a replacement for Carlo Ancelotti before Benitez was brought in. Don't be surprised if Mourinho ends up back at the Bernabeu.
1 Paris St-Germain
Reports surfaced in September that Mourinho was at the top of PSG owners Qatar Sports Investments' wishlist. Currently managed by Laurent Blanc who is in his third season at PSG, the club has won the last three league titles in France. What the owners crave now is Champions League success. PSG has been knocked out at the quarter final stage in the last three seasons and Mourinho could be just the man to take them to the next level. The pressure will be on Blanc though to make a deep run into the tournament. Should that fail to happen, expect the wealthy Qatar Sports Investments to ramp up their courtship of Mourinho.
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