Jose Mourinho is probably going to return to our lives this summer, and bring his particular brand of annoying everyone in sight and grinding out results to a new audience. Or maybe an old one. Who knows?
In any case, since leaving Manchester United, he has been linked with a cavalcade of potential new suitors, and here are the eight front-runners for his services.
Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira wants Jose Mourinho.— Goal (@goal) January 8, 2019
⭐ Where do you see the Special One resurfacing? pic.twitter.com/B2IyLxsuQ5
We'll start with the early favourites. Back in January, following Rui Vitoria's sacking, Portuguese side Benfica were heavily rumoured to be interested in offering Mourinho his first return to Portuguese football since leaving Porto in 2004.
It looks a good bit less likely now, granted. They have since appointed Bruno Lage and retaken the initiative in the Primeira Liga title race, but with just a two point lead over Porto heading into the final two games, another managerial change in Lisbon is hardly beyond the realms of possibility.
If it does pan out that way, then Mourinho's return could spell bad news for his former side...but good news for those of us who would become avid fans of Portuguese football just for the carnage he would cause.
Lyon President Aulas on José Mourinho: “I have dreamed about bringing him here. Sometimes you can’t achieve what you want to do because managers are under contract. Now, there is an opportunity to do what we want to do.” (C+)— Get French Football News (@GFFN) April 26, 2019
A team with a proud history whose modern identity revolves around successful youth development, potentially looking to rebuild their squad after Europe's elite raid them for a golden generation of players. Sounds like a job for the Special One; j
In all seriousness, it would be a bold departure from the way Lyon have operated in recent years, but if they are willing to sacrifice some of their identity as a necessary step to bridge the gap between the rest of the league and PSG, then more power to them.
But it would certainly be a gamble.
Jose Mourinho | L’Equipe say manager conducting a ‘lobbying campaign’ to try and get PSG job. No coincidence he keeps popping up in France.— Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) May 4, 2019
AS Roma a possibility, but most of story about PSG.
Bringing us to our next entry. PSG, one of the richest clubs in the world, who are looking to finally step beyond their domestic dominance and achieve something more than just a last-16 finish in the Champions League.
On paper this one actually makes a lot of sense. Frustrations do seem to be growing with Thomas Tuchel despite comfortably reclaiming their sixth Ligue 1 title in seven years. They've won just once in their last seven matches, going out of the Coupe de France to Rennes on penalties in the same run, and Mourinho - a guy with a ruthless history of success in Europe (he's won it twice, as he kept telling us when he was in England) - could be just the ticket.
On his part, he certainly wouldn't be likely to face the same resistance as he did with the United board in terms of new signings. It seems as if he is keen on the job, anyway, so this could be an interesting one to watch for.
Benfica?— Pitchside (@PitchsideFC) May 4, 2019
Where should Jose Mourinho go next? pic.twitter.com/pBf4EQh2oN
Coming hand in hand with the PSG rumours, Italian side AS Roma are believed to be among the frontrunners, looking to flex their new-found financial muscle and land one of the biggest names in management.
He has history in Serie A - more on that later - and with it seeming unlikely that caretaker boss Claudio Ranieri will land the job on a permanent basis, they're one of few sides here who look certain to be in the hunt for a new boss this summer.
It looks plausible, and without too much pressure compared to some of the other names on the list, it might be exactly what he needs to re-build his reputation at the top of the game. Or it could go up in smoke spectacularly. Your guess is as good as mine really.
Luciano Spalletti is seemingly heading for the exit door after a mixed season with the Serie A side. Though they are on track for a pretty decent third place finish, they underwhelmed in Europe, and there is a growing feeling that they have not made enough progress under the current regime, and won't until things change.
Step forward Mourinho, who remains the last manager to win Serie A with the Nerrazzuri. They say you should never go back, and the Portuguese's tumultuous second spell with Chelsea is perhaps testament to that, but he did win the Premier League upon his return to the Blues, and if he did the same with Inter, then it would be an acceptable compromise.
There's little to go on with this one other than speculation and sentiment, granted, but it's hardly a left-field call.
You really don't have to be a detective to see where the fleeting links to Wolves, so far enjoying their return to the Premier League, come from. They like their experienced Portuguese arrivals, with Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho arriving last summer, and have a noted connection to Jorge Mendes, who represents Mourinho.
They do, however, have a tactical identity that would naturally be at odds with what Mourinho would implement (it involves attacking, after all) but if Nuno Espirito Santo gets his head turned by a bigger club this summer, there aren't likely to be many better options available
Just spotted Jose Mourinho working as an Everton steward 😂😳⚽️ pic.twitter.com/xZgw8d2Rzr— Ragesh Hindocha (@Ragesh2018) May 3, 2019
It doesn't seem entirely likely that Everton will sack Marco Silva this summer. Despite an indifferent first season - they sit in eighth place at present, with no hope of catching Wolves in the hunt for European football - the word from the club is that he will be given time to come good in the long run. Don't let that halt the rumours, however.
For some reason, against all logic and reason, Mourinho has been linked with the job. We can only imagine that is because he hates Liverpool so much that he is prepared to move in across the street just to annoy them.
Desmond has apparently met with Mourinho twice and is clear he’s the man he wants to replace Rodgers.— CelticBible (@CelticBible) May 5, 2019
We'll round things off here with the most recent, and perhaps the least likely option of the lot - on the face of it, at least.
Reports came to light on Monday suggesting Scottish champions Celtic, still looking for a new permanent boss after Brendan Rodgers' move to Leicester, have made an offer to Mourinho to become their new manager. They want to take strides in Europe and vie for ten successive Scottish Premier League titles, and seemingly see Mourinho as the man to achieve both.
He'd certainly be a strong appointment to that end, but you sense they are living in dreamland, even if his touchline spats with Steven Gerrard in the Rangers dugout would offer entertainment like we have never seen before in football anywhere.