Jump directly to the content

News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services.

DREAM TEAM

Your Sun

A News UK Company
TOP
MOU ARE YA?

Jose Mourinho to Arsenal makes a worrying amount of sense

Scientists are still at odds over the theory of love at first sight.

Some believe instant chemistry is the result of dopamine, serotonin and pheromones running wild, while others will tell you it’s all in your head.

What scientists can agree on is that love at first sight goes out the window as far as Jose Mourinho and Arsenal are concerned.

The ol’ kiss of death

6
The ol’ kiss of death

Mourinho has faced Arsenal 20 times in all competitions during his managerial career, presiding over a record of ten wins, eight draws and two losses.

During that time he’s been creative with his jibes, labelling Arsene Wenger a ‘voyeur’ and ‘specialist in failure’, which is positively Shakespearean compared to the NSFW insult Alan Pardew’s once aimed in Manuel Pellegrini’s direction.

There have also been physical confrontations, most notably in 2014 when Mourinho and Wenger were fined for a touchline fracas that was more praying mantis mating dance than Joshua v Ruiz II.

Yet, despite all the glaring historic differences between Mourinho and Arsenal, he’s currently the bookmakers’ favourite to follow on from Unai Emery, if and when the board lose patience with ebenings of rigid football and baffling substitutions.

It looks so wrong but it feels so right

6
It looks so wrong but it feels so right

Once you’ve removed all emotion and bias, Mourinho to Arsenal makes perfect sense.

Mesut Ozil, who under Emery has grown a trunk and two gigantically-floppy ears while lurking in the corner of the Emirates, played some of the best football of his career with Mourinho at Real Madrid.

The German registered 25 assists during Mourinho’s first season at Bernebau. The second started with Mourinho handing Ozil Madrid’s no.10 shirt and ended with a La Liga title and Ballon d’Or nomination.

Ozil has repeatedly gone on record discussing Mourinho’s elite motivational skills, something clearly lacking in his relationship with Emery.

“Any idea where the nearest Burger King is Mesut? I’m starving”

6
“Any idea where the nearest Burger King is Mesut? I’m starving”

Nicolas Pepe, another Arsenal player struggling with confidence and form under Emery, would also have reason to cheer if Mourinho took over the reigns in north London.

The 56-year-old used Lille as a vehicle for rehabilitation following his messy divorce from Man United. It was during this time that Mourinho witnessed several imperious Pepe performances at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, showings that have been few and far between since the Ivorian moved to the Emirates.

Pepe, who scored 22 Ligue 1 goals last season, is yet to get off the mark from open play in the Premier League, but Mourinho’s ability to get the best out of Ozil could well play a key role in unshackling the 24-year-old.

Keeping incognito

6
Keeping incognito

Of course, it’s not only in attack that Arsenal are struggling. Arsenal have conceded more goals than Sheffield United, Bournemouth, Brighton, Crystal Palace and- most worryingly- Man United this season.

While even Mourinho, a man whose abilities to park the bus saw him recognised with a Transport For London Lifetime Achievement award, won’t relish the chance of constructing a defence out of Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz, he will be excited at the prospect of getting his hands on William Saliba.

The 18-year-old centre-back has been earning rave reviews in Ligue 1, having moved back to Saint-Etienne on loan following his £27million move to Arsenal in the summer.

The parallels with Raphael Varane go beyond the fact both are centre-backs. Like Saliba, Varane left France as an 18-year-old, swapping Lille for Madrid to play under Mourinho.

He’d already mastered the Shearer as a teenager

6
He’d already mastered the Shearer as a teenager

Mourinho wasn’t shy in introducing Varane to the first-team at Madrid, despite the fact the teenager had just one season of senior football to his name.

Indeed, Mourinho has repeatedly tried to sign Varane since leaving Madrid, while the Frenchman credits his former manager with reigniting his career when he began to struggle in Spain.

The prospect of Saliba being coached by a manager of Mourinho’s defensive pedigree will have Arsenal Fan TV licking their camera lenses.

“Which way to north London pal?”

6
“Which way to north London pal?”

But there will be some Arsenal fans for whom the antithesis of Arsene Wenger pitching up at the Emirates will not sit well.

Mourinho’s arrival would well and truly distinguish any lingering echoes of Wenger from the corridors, both for good and for bad.

The question is, how bad does it have to get for those doubts to become irrelevant to Arsenal fans?


READ MORE FROM THE WORLD OF DREAM TEAM: