José Mourinho was once The Special One. Now, many consider him to be The Dated One.
His preferred man-management style isn’t in keeping with what is on-trend. And tactically he has been somewhat left behind; the Portuguese coach doesn’t often set out to win a match, his primary objective is not to lose.
He’s been sacked from his last two jobs – Chelsea and Manchester United – and his stock is perhaps the lowest it’s ever been. And yet there’s a mystique surrounding the 56-year-old. When he speaks, people listen.
There’s still a fear, though very few will admit it, that Mourinho could rise again and dominate English football in his own indomitable way.
He’s the Lord Voldemort (pre Goblet of Fire) of the football world. The Premier League is supposed to be rid of him and his defensively-minded football, but everyone knows he’s going to return at some point. And it could be sooner than people thought.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas revealed Mourinho turned down the head coach’s position at the Groupama Stadium this week because he’s already agreed on a move elsewhere.
Other reports have claimed the former Chelsea boss wants to return to management in England and it isn’t like he’s going to be short of options.
Despite the struggles of Ole Gunnar Solskjær, a return to Old Trafford is off the cards. But Everton and Tottenham Hotspur may soon be on the lookout for new managers.
The Toffees, who invested heavily once again in the summer, find themselves in the relegation zone having lost four consecutive matches.
The pressure is firmly on Marco Silva and if the Portuguese tactician isn’t able to pick up points in the next couple of matches, with Everton up against West Ham United, Brighton and Watford, the writing could be on the wall for the one-time Sporting manager.
After a summer of spending, many tipped Spurs to be genuine title contenders. Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso had, at least on paper, the ability to be genuine game-changers.
Though the Frenchman got off to a dream start when he netted on his debut in the win over Aston Villa, he’s yet to shine in North London. Lo Celso, meanwhile, has struggled with injury.
The humiliating 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich was followed up with a 3-0 loss to Brighton heading into the international break. Debate rages on as to whether or not Mauricio Pochettino could be fired.
The real talking point, however, is whether the Spurs boss will walk away from the job if results, and performances, don’t improve. Especially when there may soon be openings at Old Trafford and the Santiago Bernabeu to be filled.
Pochettino has ignored both clubs before but this time, with Tottenham somewhat stale under his management, it could be different.
Under normal circumstances, it’s not likely Mourinho would be tempted by either potential job. Given the rivalry between Chelsea and Spurs, and the former Inter man’s love for those at Stamford Bridge, such a switch just didn’t seem likely.
But Mourinho has a point to prove after failings in his previous two roles. He has a legacy to salvage.
Since his departure from Old Trafford, the Portuguese has been involved in two high profile adverts and now he’s part of the Sky Sports’ punditry team. He’s winning people back around.
But the legacy factor comes into play, as it always will for a man with an ego like Mourinho. He prides himself on winning and is vocal about his previous success es. Rightly so. However, he’s not left his previous two clubs on a high and that works against him and his personal brand.
Neither Everton or Tottenham are perfect projects for Mourinho but the temptation might be too much to resist. As Spurs boss, he could guide the club to a top-four finish ahead of former employers Chelsea.
As Everton manager, he might be able to mastermind a victory over Liverpool – he was always one to frustrate Jürgen Klopp’s side as Manchester United boss and could do the same as a Toffee, much to the delight of the Goodison Park faithful.
Mourinho’s reputation used to be his shield. But, despite winning trophies with both Chelsea and Manchester United, he ultimately didn’t do enough to enhance his aura.
It’s starting to wane and he’s now being viewed as a pundit as opposed to a manager. Sooner or later he’s going to have to do something remarkable to remind the world why he’s The Special One.
Given the situations Everton and Spurs find themselves in, both could offer Mourinho the perfect platform.