Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is all set to do whatever it takes to bring former manager Jose Mourinho (presently coaching Spanish giants Real Madrid) back to Stamford Bridge, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
The Portuguese manager coached the Blues for three years, from 2004 to 2007, during which the club won the league twice, the League Cup twice and an FA Cup and Community Shield. Moreover, the club also remained unbeaten, across all competitions, at home. However, Mourinho then left the club, by "mutual consent", following disagreements with Abramovich.
It now appears the Russian billionaire businessman has repaired burnt bridges with Mourinho and is prepared to pay his former manager £9 million a year (after taxes) and pay Real Madrid a fee of £25 million to allow the deal to go through.
"Such is Roman's determination to bring back Mourinho that he is prepared to top Jose's Madrid wages and pay compensation to buy out the remaining two years of his contract," the Daily Mail quoted a Chelsea source as saying.
Abramovich has been left bitterly disappointed at the degree of underperformance from his expensively assembled squad and has threatened to fire several high-profile first team players, including Ivorian forwards Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou and French winger Florent Malouda; club captain John Terry and veteran midfielder Frank Lampard could also leave.
According to reports, if Abramovich is unsuccessful in persuading Mourinho to return, the shortlist of alternatives includes Didier Deschamps (with Olympique Marseille), Luciano Spalletti (with Zenit St Petersburg) and Laurent Blanc (with French national team). The club's interim manager, Roberto Di Matteo, could be another option, given the club's upturn in fortunes since his appointment.
Under Di Matteo, Chelsea have only lost once (against Manchester City) in their last 14 games. The Italian has also guided the club to the finals of the FA Cup and engineered a 1-0 win over defending European champions Barcelona, in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. However, Di Matteo admits he is more concerned about Chelsea's performance rather than his future.
"I'm just trying to steer this group of players towards the end of the season and trying to be successful. It has been pretty intense from day one because, apart from one week, we've played every three or four days. But that's the price of success when you manage to reach the final of the FA Cup and the semifinal of the Champions League so we're very pleased to be challenging ourselves in these competitions," the Daily Mail quoted Di Matteo as saying.