Jose Mourinho: What next for the Special One?

Jose Mourinho
(Image credit: Getty)

Jose Mourinho has been rendered mortal. For all the fireworks and fights, the Special One's time at Tottenham has ended not with a bang but a whimper. Times are, of course, changing.

Over nearly two decades, Jose has become one of the biggest characters in football. He began not as an ex-professional but an outsider; Sir Bobby Robson's loyal translator and right-hand man, who eventually stepped out on his own. He was an example of grit, guile and fighting from the bottom to reach the cream of European competition.

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So Mourinho's current state is fascinating. This formerly god-like gaffer looks a spent force: Spurs were the first club that he couldn't bring silverware to. Where does he go next? What does the future look like for Jose Mourinho?

Another English club

Jose Mourinho

(Image credit: PA)

"I like everything about English football: that's the main reason to be back and enjoying so much again," Mourinho said during his second tenure at Chelsea

It seemed like it wasn't just talk, either. Mourinho has apparently turned down the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich - guaranteed to line his pockets with trophies and boost his ego - in favour of far more difficult English jobs at Manchester United and Tottenham. He clearly loves the Premier League - even if the feeling wasn't always mutual. 

The obvious question remains, though. Who is left to hire Mourinho on this rainy island who would actually take him? He's managed three of the "Big Six": the other three wouldn't take him on the principle of him having managed their rivals. 

Perhaps Wolverhampton Wanderers would have been interested, given the Portuguese connection and the shared phone contact of Jorge Mendes - but Nuno Espirito Santo has not long extended his contract at Molineux. With the Super League brewing, maybe there's a void for a smaller club to step up and snatch a superstar name like Mourinho? 

Another Italian club

Jose Mourinho

(Image credit: PA)

Inter Milan is arguably Jose Mourinho's greatest achievement. The treble that he won there elevated him to a place in history - and really, the Italian league is well-suited to his strengths. It's a slower pace and there's an appreciation of the art of defence.

Inter won't want him back - not with Antonio Conte doing so well - but Mourinho has shown he has no qualms joining a rival. The question would be who: would Roma, Napoli or AC Milan want Mourinho as their next manager? It feels like a step backward for any of them and though they're all big names in theory, are any of them big enough for Jose?

The Juventus job seems likeliest to rear its head first. Yes, Mourinho is a proven winner but it doesn't seem likely that the Old Lady would plump for the Portuguese after seemingly going down the opposite route with Andrea Pirlo. Perhaps Italian football is off the cards for Mourinho this time around.

A return to Spain or Portugal

Long before his association with Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho was assistant at Barcelona. President Joan Laporta reportedly overlooked the Special One when he appointed Pep Guardiola in 2008 - but now Laporta's back and the jury is out on Ronald Koeman, could he make the leap for Jose?

It seems unlikely but in principle, perhaps Mourinho should be considering a return to his roots. As a young interpreter, he cut his teeth in La Liga before managing U.D. Leiria, Benfica and Porto in Portugal. You never know which jobs might become available in the next 18 months - and with Iberian football currently favouring heavy organisation and compact 4-4-2s, this could be a renaissance for his career.

Something completely different

Jose Mourinho

(Image credit: PA)

Hansi Flick is set to leave Bayern Munich. Could Die Roten move for the Special One? 

Stranger things have happened - even if that particular relationship would end with Mourinho and his bosses strangling each other in the boardroom. Perhaps there is an option out there that seems just as outlandish as Bayern Munich, though. 

Maybe Hertha Berlin are ambitious enough to tempt the Portuguese legend to their project. Perhaps someone in Ligue 1 is ready to rebrand themselves as the premier competitors to PSG. Celtic, maybe? Major League Soccer? It could be the Middle East that gives Mourinho his next offer. With football in its current state, who knows.

The international scene

Jose Mourinho

(Image credit: PA)

"Yes I want to coach a national team," Mourinho once said. "I want to have the experience of a World Cup and European Championship, the emotion of the short competition." Mourinho masterclasses in World Cup knockout matches? Count us in.

It seems like a logical next step for the Portuguese. He's almost exhausted his options in the club game after 20 years without much of a rest between gigs. Managing a country could give him the glamour he needs - it would probably be well-paying - and he could do it alongside punditry, which he has excelled at for Sky and BeIn Sports

Portugal would likely consider him if Fernando Santos were to leave after the Euros, though Mourinho has spoken about how difficult it is to manage your native country. So what about his adopted home of England? 

The FA tend to follow trends of hiring someone completely different to their last manager. If Southgate were to go after the 2022 World Cup, Mourinho would be a big enough name, who seemingly has a fan in the England captain. He might just be the person to instil the winning drive that England sides have always lacked. 

There's always the England U21 job, Jose, if you're looking for something to fill your days in the meantime. 

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.