With the new year comes the inevitable transfer rumors across the world of football. While Chelsea is one of many clubs in England to have been linked with a host of stars from across Europe and further afield, their best bit of business this January could be in finding a permanent replacement for Roberto Di Matteo.
Demba Ba has already arrived to bolster their striking options, but with Rafa Benitez at the helm on merely an interim basis, the Blues lack stability, which in turn has led to a worrying inconsistency.
On the back of a 5-1 win against Southampton in the FA Cup, their performance in the 2-0 loss against Swansea City in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semifinal ensured this was more evident than ever.
That defeat that will no doubt see the furor around Benitez's appointment gather pace once more, although how a manager can be held accountable for two costly errors from the normally unflappable Branislav Ivanovic is up for debate.
With that said, the Blues lacked punch against the Swans and after the first 30 minutes, struggled to create much by the way of scoring opportunities. As the crowd's frustration grew—vented more and more at Benitez—so too did Swansea's confidence and they claimed an unexpected win.
There was a time the Blues were invincible at Stamford Bridge, but there's now an air of vulnerability about them. They need to restore this and in Jose Mourinho, they have the ideal man.
The Portuguese remains a hero in west London having won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, and with his time at Real Madrid appearing to near an end, a reunion could be what both he and Chelsea need.
For certain, Mourinho would galvanize a club desperate for a sense of direction and strong leadership from the dugout.
With the likes of Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole expected to leave in the summer, this is very much a new Chelsea emerging, but it’s one that needs structure and guidance.
The last time Chelsea witnessed such a major shift in direction, it was Mourinho who steered them there. He took over the managerial reigns from Claudio Ranieri a year after Roman Abramovich’s takeover in 2004 and since Mourinho left Stamford Bridge three years later, the club has struggled to find his ideal replacement.
True, success has still followed in the intervening years, but by and large it was success based on the Mourinho blueprint and—save for John Terry and Lampard—with players he brought to the club.
With that era in the dying embers, Chelsea needs to create another team capable of winning major honors. It needs a manager bold enough to bring about that change. It needs a manager who can live with the scrutiny and media attention that comes with being the Chelsea boss. It needs Mourinho.
The proverb that you should never look back is sometimes true in most walks of life, but Chelsea can’t afford that luxury right now. With managerial casualties stacking up at Stamford Bridge, the club’s ability to attract the big names has waned somewhat. The club isn’t the prospect it once was, but in Mourinho they have a man who would take pride in restoring the club back to where he helped put it.
Can Chelsea get Mourinho in January? No, is the simple answer. But forget the next marquee signing, bringing the "special one" back to London in the summer should be the club’s priority in January and for the remainder of this season.