Premier League - Paper Round: Chelsea and Mourinho want reunion

Jose Mourinho and Chelsea are paving the way for a sensational reunion, according to the back pages of today’s papers.

The Portuguese manager left Stamford Bridge in 2007 after an acrimonious falling-out with owner Roman Abramovich. Since then the Blues have gone through managers as often as they change underwear, while Mourinho has enjoyed success with both Internazionale and current club Real Madrid.

But Chelsea’s unhappy run under interim manager Rafa Benitez, and Madrid struggling to keep pace with Barcelona in the league, has led to a situation where both sides would welcome the reunion.

The Sun, never knowingly understated, lead with a ‘world exclusive’ that Mourinho is keen on a return to the Blues.

“All the Special One is waiting for is the call from Blues’ billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, who is desperately seeking a new manager,” the paper claims.

That’s quite a large ‘all’, of course – it’s been assumed that Abramovich would never admit he was wrong to dismiss Mourinho by rehiring him – but according to the Daily Mail he is just as keen as the Portuguese.

“Chelsea have started the process of negotiation with Jose Mourinho about his potential availability in the summer and his desire to return to Stamford Bridge,” the Mail reports.

With Abramovich’s knee-jerk sackings proving unpopular with fans, this is ironically the one time Chelsea supporters would welcome a swift managerial change.

And the Daily Telegraph suggests the writing could be on the wall for Benitez as soon as this weekend if Chelsea fail to beat Wigan in their next match.

Elsewhere, and the strength of Manchester United’s interest in Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic will be tested by the Potters slapping a £15m price tag on their shot-stopper.

Begovic could well be for sale come the summer when England goalkeeper Jack Butland completes his move to the Britannia Stadium, but he will not be released on the cheap.

Ferguson is keen on replacing David De Gea in the summer, but may look elsewhere if he feels Begovic, 25, is overpriced.

Manchester City did not splash out on a replacement for Mario Balotelli in the January window, but the money they did make on the striker could be used on bringing in either Radamel Falcao or Cristiano Ronaldo , the Metro says. Presumably as the first of several instalments.

Other than that it’s a quiet morning on the transfer rumour front, with months until the window reopens for one thing, and some actual football to report on for another.

But a final interesting (or concerning, depending on your standpoint) rumour is that the injury to Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe could be worse than first feared.

The Mirror reports that contrary to manager Andre Villas-Boas’s estimate of 2-3 weeks out for the England star, it could be as much as two months. Just as well Togo crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations, then – Emmanuel Adebayor is on his way back to England.