Fans of the English Premier League should by now be well acclimatised to the type of manager Jose Mourinho is.
Though the Special One is often up front with his opinions and ideas, there’s plenty of tricks that hide behind his egotistical facade, and he’s steadily carved out a reputation over the years for being extremely efficient when it comes to getting what he wants.
Mourinho gets his way
During his first stint as Chelsea boss he put together a masterfully assembled array of stars, at the cost of considerable outlay on Roman Abramovich’s part, and was at all times in control of who came in and who went out of the Stamford Bridge transfer doors.
When the first hint of a power struggle began to rear it’s head between Mourinho and his Russian overseer he decided to vacate his post; a fresh start was what was needed for The Special One. He found it at Inter Milan.
With some clever deals and tactical nous the Portuguese coach was once more able to embed success into the DNA at the San Siro, and two trophy laden years culminated in a historic Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich in 2010. But in truth Serie A was never really for Mourinho. It wasn’t glamorous enough, wasn’t competitive enough and frankly wasn’t in the limelight enough. No, he had bigger ambitions.
How then do you go up if you’re team has just been crowned the kings of Europe? In reality there’s only one place in football; Real Madrid.
With the help of Florentino Perez’s millions Mourinho was charged with ensuring the emergence of a second generation of Galacticos wasn’t spoiled following a tame campaign under Manuel Pellegrini, and more importantly upsetting the unerring Barcelona apple cart which Pep Guardiola was steering towards unparalleled success.
The 51-year-old made plenty of big calls at Madrid, many of which went down like gone off milk with the fans. Yet there’s one piece of business that they can’t help but thank him for, one which certainly ranks amongst his most astute purchases to date.
The master move for Varane
In 2011 he arranged a deal wherein a little known centre-back by the name of Raphael Varane made a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu. Formerly of Lens in France, where he was relegated to Ligue 2 shortly before his big move, the young defender wasn’t the sort of household name Los Blancos fans are used to seeing every time their club makes an overseas acquisition.
And yet now, three years on, Varane has established himself as one of the most promising talents in Europe, with a price tag said to be floating above his head around the £20million mark. The partnership of Pepe and Sergio Ramos may have restricted his first-team opportunities somewhat under Ancelotti, but make no mistake; Madrid see the 21-year-old as a key player for the club moving forward.
And that’s precisely why they should have cause for concern with the speculation of late which focuses around the fact that Mourinho is making waves with regards to being reunited with the France international. For those of you not clued in on such rumours they don’t amount to the possibility of the Chelsea coach returning to manage Madrid, rather that Varane could well be cherry-picked and taken to Stamford Bridge.
For the Blues know that John Terry’s time as the beating heart which pumps blood around their back-line is at its end, and they need a figure cut from the same cloth if they hope to replace him. Needless to say Mourinho has identified the man he once plucked from relative obscurity, and is now attempting to negotiate with Madrid over his sale.
A deal destined to happen?
Cue nervous anticipation from Los Blancos fans the world over. Mourinho is famed for his close relationship with his players, and his connection with Varane will be all the stronger thanks to the fact that it was he who gave him his dream move when few others would have even considered him.
What’s more, the player will know that he would have a strong claim for a starting spot with Chelsea, whereas Madrid seem keen to continue to use him as a backup option for the time being.
The Spanish giants know Mourinho’s ability to scheme and sweet talk his way to where he wants to be better than anyone, which is why they’d be foolish to underestimate him. From the outside looking in it might appear that Varane might have the world at his feet in Madrid, but don’t be surprised to see Mourinho have his way…again.
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