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It’s really quite ironic that Jose Mourinho has let it be known that his “next job will be at a club with the right structure – I don’t want conflict.”
Right from the very first moment the ‘Special One’ appeared on the scene, conflict has been a watchword he’s lived by.
There’s no point denying what a supremely talented man-manager he is – to a point – but a real problem is the Portuguese’s penchant for hanging his players out to dry once his mask slips and results start to go awry.
Chelsea (the second time), Real Madrid and Manchester United are littered with players upset by his tactics which, eventually, grind down his paymasters too and end with a hefty payoff. No wonder Barcelona went for Pep Guardiola when given the option.
Mourinho’s eventual parting of the ways can be seen coming months in advance, and it’s become a tried and tested method now. He’s still a decent manager in the short term yes, and he will get results, but those clubs who are already circling and meeting with his representatives can’t say they’ve not been warned.
They won’t include Real Madrid of course who, perhaps surprisingly, re-hired Zinedine Zidane just 10 months after he left the Santiago Bernabeu.
Zidane's perfect start is already over! 😢
✅ 2-0 Celta
✅ 3-2 Huesca
❎ 1-2 Valencia pic.twitter.com/dxxWlQiBdj
— Goal (@goal) April 3, 2019
The Portuguese national team job seems unlikely too, given that Mourinho admitted he prefers the grind of daily work, and playing in the many competitions that club football brings.
You never say never in football, mind, and it’s still possible he could step into the breach for his country.
The headlines and images that paint Mou in a bad light remain online for all to see, and any club will have to weigh up whether they want that sort of image for their club. It’s potentially the biggest factor in any decision-making process at this point.
Lyon do seem likely to pursue initial interest in the former Man Utd manager though. It was thought that current incumbent, Bruno Genesio, would be given a two-year extension, but president Jean-Michel Aulas has reconsidered after they were sent tumbling out of the French Cup by Rennes.
In terms of style, Genesio and Mourinho couldn’t be more different, with the former known for the expansive, attacking way in which his sides play.
Memphis Depay was sold by the Portuguese when both were at United, and given that he’s one of Lyon’s best players, it would be interesting to see how that particular situation pans out, should Mourinho decide that Ligue 1 is for him.
Nico Kovac hasn’t had the best of times at Bayern Munich, where consistent rumours of dressing room unrest have existed throughout the campaign.The Croatian has steadied the ship in the sense that the Bavarians are back in the title race, but it appears to be a matter of time before he’s relieved of his duties.
Mourinho has been clear that he “would like to win a third Champions League with a third club and to win a fifth league in a fifth different country,” and, with respect, Bayern are much better equipped than Lyon to afford him those opportunities.
He would certainly command the respect that Kovac hasn’t been able to, and his track record remains alluring to a club who consider themselves amongst Europe’s best.
From a personal point of view, Bayern would tick all of Mourinho’s boxes too.