As the old saying goes, you should never go back.
In the end, neither party had much alternative.
Monday's announcement by Real Madrid that Manager Jose Mourinho would be leaving at the end of the season came as no surprise, he has cut a forlorn figure over the last few months and this seems to be the most amicable solution for all parties. Now, his inevitable return to his former club Chelsea is the worst kept secret in Football. Reports suggest that terms have already been agreed and Mourinho is poised to return to South London as soon as his Madrid contract expires. No compensation will be changing hands, as Mourinho is being 'Released', this will no doubt please Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who has spend astronomical fees on several Managers since Mourinho left the club.
So, after much speculation, the 'Special One' is on his way back to the Premier League. Most thought he would return one day, with Manchester United his most likely destination. He was the favourite for the job with most Bookmakers for a long time and had freely admitted the prospect of following an Icon such as Sir Alex Ferguson would be a challenge he would relish. United decided to go another way, giving David Moyes the responsibility of following football's greatest ever Manager. This left Mourinho with the intriguing proposition of returning to the club where he had tremendous success in his first spell.
The rumours of his return have been almost continuous since Rafa Benitez was only hired as an 'Interim' Manager until the end of the season. Despite fierce opposition to the appointment from the Chelsea fans, who hold a deep disdain for Benitez stemming from his time as Liverpool Manager, he has done a fine job. He guided the club to a third place finish in the Premier League, guaranteeing Champions League Football for another season, which is an essential part of the Club dynamic given the financial rewards at stake. Benitez also delivered a trophy, winning the UEFA Europa League in dramatic style. The Spaniard will not be remembered fondly by most of the Chelsea faithful, but that will be inconsequential to him and he can leave with his head held high.
Abramovich will no doubt have had to swallow an awful lot of pride to bring Mourinho back to The Bridge. The outspoken Manager left the club under acrimonious circumstances following a series of disagreements with the Billionaire Russian. There was a serious clash of personalities between the two which culminated in Mourinho's removal of Manager in September 2007. They say time heals all wounds, which may be the case here. In all actuality, Abramovich must have seriously regretted his decision to part ways with the most successful Manager in the club's history, given the disastrous run of Managers he has employed since.
Chelsea have gone through an incredible number of Manager's in recent years, which has had a catastrophic effect on their growth as a club. Stability is the key to success, you only have to look at Ferguson's reign as United chief to see the benefits it can bring. Chelsea have had 8 Managers since Mourinho's departure, an incredible amount for a Club of their stature. With new Manager's come new changes, and the cohesion of the team has suffered greatly as a result. Abramovich will be hoping bringing the Portuguese Mastermind back into the fold will return the club to the glory days where they were challenging for the title annually.
There is plenty of work to do before then. Chelsea appear to be in a transition period, their ageing stars are slowly being phased out as the club looks to get younger. Club stalwarts like John Terry have been omitted from important games this season under Benitez, which has resulted in speculation over their futures. That could all change under Mourinho, who will no doubt want to keep the Players he knows well and have the experience of winning. The clearest indication yet of Mourinho's arrival was the news that Frank Lampard had signed a new one-year deal with the club. Lampard, now the club's all-time record goalscorer, was thought to be leaving on a free transfer at the end of the season, despite the fine form he had been demonstrating. Mourinho's influence will no doubt have swayed the owners decision to give Lampard one more year and there is no disputing his value to the team. Experience can be key when implementing a new system and given most of this Chelsea side weren't around when 'The Special One' was last at the helm, it will smooth the transition having the more senior players at the Club playing a major role.
This squad of players have had their fair share of problems this season, nowhere near relevance in the title race, they eventually finished 14 points behind United but in truth they never looked like threatening. Despite their struggles, this is a powerful squad littered with World Class talent that is capable of beating any side in Europe when they are firing on all cylinders. They have lacked inspiration for long periods of the season, a flaw that will undoubtedly be rectified under Mourinho. He is a first-class motivator and players have always responded to his robust approach to man-management. Mourinho quickly installs the 'Us against the World' mentality at any club he's managed and it seems to bring the players together, making them more focused and determined. This is one of the keys to his success over the years.
As Mourinho looks to build a Championship calibre team, he can rest easily knowing he has the key components already in place. In Petr Cech, they have one of the World's best shot-stoppers and despite a few jitters this season, is as reliable a Goalkeeper as you are likely to find. In David Luiz, he has an emerging talent who has the potential to be one of the best around at the Centre-Back position. He is still raw, his positioning in particular comes in for criticism at times. Despite this, he is sensational on the ball, has an eye for goal and his set-piece threat has been displayed on more than one occasion this season. Ramires is also set to be one of the players Mourinho will look to for a significant contribution this season. He is a complete Midfield player who is equally adept defending as he is attacking. He has been one of Chelsea's outstanding players this season and one of the constants in a season of turmoil.
On top of this, Mourinho has three attacking midfielders at his disposal that can rival any club in Europe. Eden Hazard, a £32 million arrival from Lille, was expected to be the creative force behind any Chelsea success this season. While there were some bumps in the road, Hazard performed phenomenally during his first season in English football. He adapted to the physical nature of the Premier League effortlessly and finished 3rd in the PFA Young Player of the Year voting and was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year, with 9 goals in 34 league appearances. Mourinho will be relying on Hazard to continue his development as he will no doubt be making the Belgium International the focal point of this team going forward. At 22 years of age that is a lot of pressure to be putting on someone so young. However, we have seen nothing to suggest Hazard isn't capable of coping with it and it could be the making of him.
Juan Mata is another that the 'Special One' will be looking at as a vital piece of the new Chelsea. Without question Chelsea's most consistent threat throughout the season, the Spanish International is vastly experienced at the top level despite being only 25 years of age and Mourinho will be counting on him to be one of the leaders in the new era for the Football Club.
While Mata has all the experience, Oscar is young and relatively unproven at the highest level. Chelsea invested heavily in the gifted Brazilian last summer, paying £25 million for his services from Internacional. With so much talent around him, Oscar was under no pressure to contribute right away and was seen more as a developmental prospect. Oscar has exceeded expectations this year, providing some magical moments which has Chelsea fans more than optimistic about his future with the club. Mourinho will look to progress the 21-year old even further and the Brazilian International will have no better person to turn to for advice.
They are the three men that Mourinho must build the team around, and quickly.
The chances will be created, of that there is no doubt.
Just who is going to be on hand to put the chances away?
The forwards at the Football Club have sometimes been the scapegoats for the team's downfall this season. In particular, Fernando Torres, who has looked a different player than the one we were treated to at Liverpool. The burden of a £50 million transfer fee has proved too much for handle for Torres at times since his arrival at the end end of the January transfer window in 2011. There have been signs of the old Torres this season, finishing the season with 21 goals in all competitions. Worryingly though, just 8 of those have come in the league, which is simply not good enough for a player of undoubted quality. Mourinho has a huge task ahead of him if he wants to return Torres to his former glory. He is 29 years of age, with some suggesting that his best days are behind him it leaves the Manager with a huge dilemma. Torres' shaky confidence will not be helped if he is reduced to a 'bit-part' player and it may be more beneficial for all parties if the Spaniard moved on while he can still generate a reasonable transfer fee.
There will no doubt be money available for Mourinho to bring in players, as there has been for every Chelsea Manager during the Abramovich era. It is unlikely that he would have taken the job had he not had guarantees regarding the amount of funds he has available. The squad itself could do with two or three players with genuine class as the strength-in-depth of the lesser used members of the squad have come into question. It appears his main transfer target is Napoli's Goal-Machine Edinson Cavani. A fee in the region of £40 million is what it would take to land one of the hottest properties in World Football. He would instantly solve their problems upfront, having scored a staggering 27 goals in just 32 Serie A appearances this season. There is said to be interest from Manchester City, who can match any offer Chelsea can provide the Uruguayan, so it will be down to Mourinho to convince Cavani that Chelsea is the right option.
Given the money he will surely spend, the pressure will be on Mourinho to deliver right away. The fans will remember the good times they've had under him in the past and will be expecting similar success this time around. It has the makings of a recipe for disaster if things go wrong, his legendary status with the fans will be in ruins if his return doesn't pay dividends. It will be one of the most captivating storylines of the upcoming season and is without doubt Mourinho's most difficult challenge to date.
His back will be against the wall from the very outset, and that's just the way he likes it.
Dean Jones: Follow me on Twitter @DeanJones_