As the managerial situation at Manchester United dominates the headlines, Rafa Benitez’ successor could potentially slip in unnoticed at Chelsea.
Or perhaps not, given that the self-professed ‘Special One’ appears certain to return to Stamford Bridge, with Jose Mourinho 1/8 to regain the Blues post he relinquished six years ago.
Mourinho’s Real Madrid beat Malaga 6-2 last time out, yet he was booed upon his exit from the Santiago Bernabeu dugout, in scenes defining his turbulent tenure at the helm of Los Blancos.
Keen to embrace the close relationship he still enjoys with Chelsea supporters, Mourinho is desperate to return to the club with which he lifted two Premier League titles, and thus, is willing to put past issues with owner Roman Abramovich aside.
Abramovich too is prepared to swallow his pride to seal the re-signing of his most successful coach, and can do so for a reasonable compensation fee, in light of Real’s willingness to release their controversial boss from his contract.
The Portuguese chief’s deal with the La Liga giants runs until 2016, but Los Merengues president Florentino Perez will sanction his exit, provided Mourinho doesn’t bring the club into further disrepute during his final few weeks at the helm.
Such an agreement has been necessitated by Mourinho’s persistent urges to publicly discuss his future, which Perez has not taken kindly to.
So with both parties keen to ensure a deal goes through, there would seem few obstacles to the 50-year-old heading back to London.
However, those reluctant to take such short odds regarding Mourinho’s re-appointment do have a number of lengthy-price candidates to choose from to succeed Benitez.
Ex-Real and current Malaga chief Manuel Pellegrini comes next in the betting at 10/1, but a couple of Chelsea playing legends may be the best-supported contenders for the job not named Jose.
Gianfranco Zola is a 20/1 shot, with Gus Poyet 50/1, and those prices could fluctuate dependent on the respective play-off fortunes of their Watford and Brighton sides.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.