Rafael Benitez, the famously titled `Interim Manager` of Chelsea is known for his considered and sometimes inimical press conferences and tangential comments. However, on the subject of his tenure at Chelsea, he today told reporters that he will definitely be leaving at the end of the season, and to quote him directly:-
"The next year there will be another manager," the Spaniard said. "I think everybody knows who will be here."
That leaves no doubt that he is privy to inside information from the top of the club. Immediately, odds for Mourinho to be next Chelsea manager were either suspended or in the case of two companies, BetVictor are offering 1/8 and StanJames 1/10!
My father always used to tell me that when looking for pointers about these kinds of event, the best one was the bookies. They nearly always have information not generally available to the public and so it seems they have on this occasion. Mourinho himself recently added to the speculation after Real Madrid`s exit from the Champions League to Borussia Dortmund by saying:-
"I know in England I am loved," he said. "I know I am loved by some clubs, especially one."
That was a very faintly `come and get me` plea to Chelsea. However, the move is also not as straight forward as we are led to believe. I wrote a few days ago that Mourinho and his agent, Jorge Mendes, were not happy with the details of the appointment as it would mean that he would be under the auspices of technical director, Michael Emenalo, after he had sought assurances from owner Roman Abramovich about his position. It is inescapable that there will be conflict between these two, as Mourinho likes to dictate his own management of the club, especially transfers; however, this area will be Emenalo`s remit.
There is an old adage in football that says "never go back" and it is essentially a truism in that it is never the same second time around. I predict that there will be conflict at Chelsea and not the results that people are expecting. The second coming of the messiah might seem exciting for the gullible Chelsea fans desperate to be title contenders again, but the world has moved on since 2004 and they have been left behind.
This season, in a league in which the majority of clubs are nearly bankrupt, Real Madrid have struggled to even finish third and they were thrashed by Dortmund in the Champions League. Unfortunately, for Chelsea, their tomorrow was yesterday!