Jose Mourinho has spoken frankly about his desire to stay with Chelsea for 12 years.
The Portuguese boss—who headed to Stamford Bridge for his second spell in charge during the summer—has also confirmed he wants a shot at taking his national team to the World Cup once his Premier League career is over, per Laura Williamson of the Daily Mail:
"How long will I stay? I would say 12 years. I’m 51 next month. I’d say 12 years, and two to go to a World Cup with a national team," said Mourinho.
The charismatic manager has appeared subdued since heading back to West London, but he's more than happy to commit his future to Roman Abramovich and the club that loves him. He believes stability is the catalyst for success:
It’s sad because I think a league gets better if we keep the good things and we improve the bad things. One of the good things is that sense of stability, to let people work without pressure.
I had Real Madrid and I left because I wanted to, not because they wanted me to. I had other clubs in other countries where it would be easier to go to.
Mourinho also confirmed he is on his lowest-paid contract of the last six years and didn't return to Chelsea for financial reward. Instead, his passion for the club far outweighs receiving the maximum boost to his bank account:
If I was here for financial reasons, I wouldn't be here, getting a lot less money than I had at Real Madrid.
I didn't come because the job was easy, or because I had a team ready to attack the title, or for the best contract. It’s the worst (contract) of my last six years. I’m here because I love the club and I love the project.
For Mourinho and Chelsea, the upcoming clash with Arsenal promises to throw up one of the most important results of the season.
Did you miss our EXCLUSIVE interview with Mourinho? Check it out here: https://t.co/F1yF1QjK7J-— beIN SPORT (@beINSPORTUSA) December 22, 2013
Arsene Wenger's team have been mightily impressive for most of the campaign, knowing victory will return them to the top of the table.
The signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid has galvanised the Gunners' creativity and given them an extra spark behind Olivier Giroud up front. Wenger's 17 years of stability has undoubtedly helped shape the club we know today.
Mourinho is wary of Ozil, a player he brought to the Bernabeu in 2010, and suggests his Blues side won't be able to stop the German maestro across 90 minutes at the Emirates, per Sky Sports:
[I]t's impossible to stop him for 90 minutes, because these kind of players they will have always a moment or a couple of moments where you cannot stop them and they end up showing why they are so good.
To stop him completely, I don't believe we can.
A win for Chelsea would see them surpass Arsenal by one point, while a loss would place Wenger's team five ahead of their London rivals. As hinted by Miguel Delaney of ESPN on Twitter, it's managers like Mourinho who have consistently forced Wenger to maintain high standards in England's top flight:
@timmeeb I think, and this is a mark of his greatness, he's somewhat justified. 98-2004, United won more titles and a CL... Then, just, when— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 22, 2013
@timmeeb ... Arsenal overtook, Chelsea came along. Mourinho raised the level extraordinarily, to extent you couldn't afford errors in title— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 22, 2013
Both Chelsea and Arsenal have suffered difficult losses in recent times. Mourinho watched on as his side fell 3-2 to Stoke on Dec. 7, while Wenger's men have little time to console themselves after the 6-3 loss to title rivals Manchester City on Dec. 14.
Will Jose Mourinho stay at Chelsea for 12 years?
Chelsea have already conquered Arsenal once this season with a 2-0 win in the Capital One Cup. Gunners fans will want revenge, but—taking into account the previous encounter and Arsenal's recent heavy loss—it's clear Chelsea have the slight advantage heading into this one.
Indeed, a home defeat would see the North London club drop into fourth. Questions would undoubtedly be asked as to whether Arsenal can win the league, but for Chelsea, a win will underline their tag as one of the favourites at this important time of the campaign.
Clearly Mourinho is planning to build something that lasts over a decade at Chelsea, but ultimately he is a born winner. He will want the league title this season, and victory at Arsenal would be a major statement of intent.