In one quick swoop, Chelsea could land themselves one of the most respected players in football and one of the winningest coaches in team history.
With Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho steadily dropping hints that he wants out of the Bernabeu, Chelsea could land the leader that helped them win two Premier League titles and one FA Cup at a relatively discount price, according to The Independent.
Mourinho may also bring 31-year-old midfielder Xabi Alonso with him. Madrid reportedly offered Alonso a two-year contract extension, but he is keener on returning to the Premier League, with former club Liverpool also on his mind.
That same report suggested Alonso and Mourinho have grown close, and where the coach goes, so might the player.
Following Madrid’s 4-3 aggregate loss to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semi-finals, Mourinho said he would like to be where he is wanted, a veiled shot suggesting officials and fans at the Bernabeu haven’t exactly made him feel welcome recently.
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Mourinho signed an extension with Madrid after last season, but the club could reduce the £20 million buyout fee so they could move on with presumed frontrunner, Paris Saint-German’s Carlo Ancelotti, according to The Daily Mail.
Landing Mourinho at a discount price could help the Blues offset the £22 million market value for Alonso. The Spanish native made his name with Liverpool from 2004 to 2009, with 143 appearances and 15 goals, and while his production dipped slightly at the Bernabeu, he could help Chelsea next season should they make the Champions League. However, Frank Lampard was offered a one-year extension, according to The Independent, which could complicate a move for Alonso.
Should Mourinho land back at Chelsea, he could be an excellent tutor for young Serbian prospect Lazar Markovic, who has long been a Blues target.
According to the Daily Mirror, former Chelsea manager Avram Grant coached the 19-year-old striker last season at Partizan Belgrade, and is now trying to persuade him to join Chelsea over Inter Milan.
Chelsea’s chances for the Champions League rest heavily on their next two Premier League matches with Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, but no matter the outcome interim manager Rafa Benitez is not expected to be on sidelines at Stamford Bridge next season.
Yet there appears to be a divide amongst Chelsea players about who should be their manager.
A report from Serbian media highlighted comments from Blues defender Branislav Ivanovic, saying “everyone” at Chelsea would cheer for Mourinho’s return.
Juan Mata’s recent comments actually showed more support for Benitez, according to The Telegraph.
“Rafa’s a manager who did great seasons at every club he’s been at,” Mata said. “We’re working really, really well under him. For me and the players, he’s a great manager. We are trying to be in third position and having a chance to win a trophy, so maybe the season in the end will look good for us and that will be because of his job. Maybe it’ll be a great season in the end.”