New rumors have come to life on Tyneside regarding managers who could replace Rafa Benitez if he leaves Newcastle United. One of those names is Jose Mourinho.
The rumor mill regarding a Newcastle United takeover, transfer targets and replacement managers are out in full force lately. A few weeks ago, I wrote an article reacting to the news of the potential takeover of Newcastle United, and today I am reacting to reports claiming that Jose Mourinho “is open” to joining Newcastle United if Rafa Benitez walks on June 30th, and if a takeover occurs.
This rumor has caught fire as several media outlets from around the globe have used this story as a major headline, but what are the actual odds of this move happening? In short, I would say that it is unlikely, but definitely possible.
Mourinho as Manager
Mourinho knows about Newcastle United all too well as an opposing manager for other Premier League clubs, but his close relationship with Sir Bobby Robson provides him with a more intimate association with the Toon. In a recent interview, the Portuguese manager made the following claims about his former mentor and the Magpies:
"I like to go there [Newcastle]. I like the feeling of going to Mr Robson’s home. I like that feeling. I like the stadium. I like the atmosphere. They are a good, enthusiastic crowd. I like the Geordies."
As a manager, Mourinho is a living legend who has won three Premier League titles, two Champions League titles and one Europa League title over the course of his career. Mourinho was successful as the manager of Porto, Chelsea (twice), Inter Milan, Real Madrid and most recently Manchester United. Mourinho has won at least one major trophy with each of the aforementioned clubs and boasts an average winning percentage of 65% with those major clubs.
For many neutral fans and pundits, moving to Newcastle United would be a downgrade for Mourinho, however, if this takeover does go through things will be significantly different on Tyneside. The team would undoubtedly change the majority of the roster and pursue more prominent players in the transfer market. This would surely attract the attention of Mourinho, who is apparently monitoring the takeover of the Toon.
However, it is worth mentioning that the whole reason why Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan is interested in purchasing the club is because of Rafa Benitez. The Spaniard transformed the Magpies from a vulnerable, second tier team to a stable, mid-table Premier League side. Sheikh Khaled will want to stick with Benitez as the main man on the sideline, but if Benitez wishes to pursue a new opportunity then fans should not be surprised to see Mourinho emerge as a real top candidate for the managerial role.
In my opinion, I am optimistic that a takeover will happen this summer and that Benitez will return to Newcastle United. Benitez’s contract expires on June 30th, so we should receive some major updates very soon.