May 9, 2021

What next for Jose Mourinho after his sacking by Tottenham?

If you want to know how big a story the proposed European Soccer League is, consider the case of Jose Mourinho. One of the world’s most high-profile managers lost his job on Monday, yet the news barely made a ripple. Now that the Super League is on the verge of collapse, we can expect Tottenham Hotspur’s decision to receive more scrutiny.

It is not hard to see why the north London outfit decided to part ways with Mourinho. Spurs topped the Premier League table as recently as the middle of December, but they have slipped down to seventh since then. Mourinho has criticised his players in public and reports suggest he had lost the support of the dressing room. Tottenham do have the chance to win their first trophy since 2008 in Sunday’s League Cup final, but it was hard to see the team improving next season with Mourinho at the helm.

Spurs have placed Ryan Mason in caretaker charge of the first team, and chairman Daniel Levy is said to be keen to make a permanent appointment before the end of the campaign. Marcelino, Julian Nagelsmann, Brendan Rodgers, Scott Parker, Graham Potter and Max Allegri have all been mentioned as potential candidates.

It is more interesting, though, to consider what comes next for Mourinho. He has already managed three Premier League clubs: Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham. For various reasons, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal would not want him as their manager. And it is hard to see a two-time Champions League winner accepting a job at a club outside the division’s big six, particularly as Carlo Ancelotti does not seem to be going anywhere at Everton.

It therefore seems like the Premier League has seen the last of Mourinho, who burnt his bridges at Chelsea long ago. Perhaps the 58-year-old will replace Antonio Conte at Inter, but it could be another year or two before that position is available. And while Inter fans will always love Mourinho after he guided them to the treble in 2010, some may wonder whether he is still the same manager today as he was 11 years ago.

International football might one day appeal to Mourinho, and the Portugal job could be available after this summer’s European Championship if Fernando Santos decides he wants a club job. There have also been suggestions that Mourinho could return to the Primeira Liga with Porto or Sporting CP, but he would have to take a significant pay cut to do so. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez remains an admirer of his, but other figures at the club would not want to see Mourinho back at the Santiago Bernabeu.

There is no doubt the self-styled Special One is one of the best managers of the last two decades, but it has become increasingly clear that he has been left behind by the modern game. He may yet take an extended spell out of the game, but that would mark a departure from what he has done previously. After his sacking at Tottenham, Mourinho could be forced to adjust his expectations about his next job.

Greg Lea

Greg Lea

Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who specialises in the Premier League. The former editor of The Set Pieces, he's been published by FourFourTwo, ESPN and the Guardian.

View all posts by Greg Lea →

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