Jose Mourinho: Players the Special One Would Try to Sign for Chelsea
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If Simon Johnson of the London Evening Standard is to be believed, "[Chelsea] have made (Jose) Mourinho their new first-choice target to take charge next season after Pep Guardiola snubbed them in favour of a switch to Bayern Munich last month."
The Portuguese coach has a glittering history with Chelsea, of course, having won back-to-back Premier League titles during his three years at Stamford Bridge, alongside the FA Cup and League Cup.
Now Real Madrid manager, his time at the Bernabeu appears to have soured, and with Chelsea in need of a new manager come the summer, they seem the perfect match.
But while a return to west London sounds appealing on the surface, the Portuguese would be met with the challenge of rebuilding a club in need of surgery. That is not to say the Blues lack a talented squad, but they do require better balance.
So, at the risk of counting our chickens a little too early, Bleacher Report looks at four players the self-proclaimed "Special One" would target were he to return to Chelsea.
Ronaldo has been integral at Real Madrid during Mourinho's spell
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Another hat-trick in Real Madrid colors at the weekend, Cristiano Ronaldo continues to be the club's focal point. And it's little wonder—he has scored an incredible 136 goals in 123 La Liga outings for the club, and this season his tally stands at 36 in all competitions.
Indeed, the statistics speak for themselves, but as Ronaldo demonstrated during his six years at Manchester United, he is more than capable of transferring that success to the Premier League.
Mourinho has a past of leaving clubs and trying to bring some of his better players with him. Given Ronaldo's standing as one of the world's finest, you can be sure he'd try to pull out all the stops in bringing him to Stamford Bridge.
That said, whether he would be able to sign him or not is another thing altogether.
Falcao has long been a Chelsea target
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Rumours of Falcao's apparent impending move to Chelsea have begun to sound like a broken record.
Should Jose Mourinho return to the Blues, we can only expect such gossip to hit fever pitch.
The Colombian has become the most coveted striker in world football over the past 12 months, and while his arrival at Stamford Bridge would feed the fans' desire to see the biggest names wear the Chelsea shirt, he would also be a shrewd addition
They have different qualities, but Falcao also resembles Didier Drogba in many ways. He is physical and can bully his way past defenders in the way Drogba did throughout his Chelsea career. It was Mourinho who brought the Ivorian to Chelsea, and he would be looking for a similar front man to fit that mould.
In Drogba's autobiography, he recounted Mourinho's words to him when the Portuguese explained that "with you, I could win any battle".
One suspects Mourinho would look at Falcao in such a way, too.
Gareth Bale has the qualities of former Mourinho wingers Damien Duff and Arjen Robben
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It is naive to suggest Jose Mourinho would recreate the same atmosphere and approach that saw him so successful at Chelsea in his first stint. But were he to return, there is no doubting the Portuguese would draw upon certain aspects of what made the Blues so successful during his tenure.
His use of Arjen Robben and Damien Duff on the wing was ruthless, and the pair terrorized teams for much of their time at Stamford Bridge under Mourinho.
In Eden Hazard they have a player capable of bringing back that era of wing play at Chelsea, while Gareth Bale would be the perfect addition to the squad.
If Hazard is a more talented Duff, then Bale is a more effective Robben. The Welshman scores more goals than Chelsea's former Dutch maestro, and while he has had his injury problems at Tottenham Hotspur, his time on the treatment table has been far less than Robben's ever was.
A staple of Mourinho's teams is their ability to punish opponents on the counter, and Bale would make Chelsea far more equipped to achieve that under the Portuguese.
Chiellini is a fine defender and would add steel to the Chelsea rearguard.
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In David Luiz and Gary Cahill, Chelsea have two fine defenders capable of carrying the ball out of defence. Indeed, they complement the battle-born talents of John Terry, but outside of the club captain, the Blues lack another centre-back with a physical edge.
Giorgio Chiellini brings much more to his game, but he is a fine competitor and would add further steel to the Chelsea rearguard.
Teams coached by Jose Mourinho have long had a tendency to concede few goals, and he is a known admirer of players who bring substance to his team dynamic.
The Italian would help restore Chelsea's once-admired defensive solidity and also release the burden on an aging Terry who has struggled for fitness this season.
Of all those names we've discussed and the possibilities surrounding Chelsea, were Mourinho to bring a player of Chiellini's ilk to west London, it would probably be his finest bit of business.