Inside Football: Why Jose Mourinho chose Roma after Tottenham exit – and why they chose him
Jose Mourinho wasted little time finding another job, with AS Roma stepping in after his dismal spell at Tottenham came to an end. As Dean Jones explains in his latest Inside Football, Roma see him as the man to lift them from sleeping giants to serious trophy challengers, while Mourinho will relish a different project after his reputation was ripped up in the Premier League.
At a time when his reputation in England has been tarnished by the manner of spells at Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, respect levels in Italy remain high.
He left the country 11 years ago, having led Inter Milan to successive league titles, even claiming a treble that included the Champions League in his final season - the first time an Italian club had ever done so. Treatment of him back in Italy will be good.
The press hold him in high regard and so do most players and staff. Mourinho feels he did not have that same feeling in England. It’s pretty unlikely he will manage in the Premier League again, in fact.
Jose Mourinho (R) celebrates after Inter Milan win the Champions League in 2010
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This is a chance for Mourinho to escape his frustrations and work in an environment without the same judgement and expectation he became used to in the Premier League. Perhaps most exciting of all, he’s going to get money to spend on a new project too.
This won’t quite be at the level of Roman Abramovich's backing when Mourinho first landed at Chelsea in 2004 but Roma are under new ownership and believe there is a big opportunity to make up ground on the likes of Inter Milan, Juventus and AC Milan. Fast.
All three of those traditional giants have difficulties to contend with financially. There is no powerhouse to stand out above all contenders. This could be ideal for Mourinho.
He is already studying the squad and identifying strengths and weaknesses. With a build up to beginning his role formally after the European Championship, Mourinho should be incredibly prepared for what lies ahead.
The Friedkin Group took over Roma last year and feel the club is a sleeping giant in European football. They are in awe of the fanbase, the history of the club and the city of Rome.
AS Roma fans during the Serie A match against Napoli at Stadio Olimpico on November 2, 2019 in Rome, Italy.
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It is not yet clear quite what level of investment Mourinho is going to get for the summer market as the owners are not planning for this to be an overnight success. Mourinho signed a three-year contract and the main goal is that by the end of those three years Roma are not only competing for major silverware, but winning.
Hiring Mourinho was no easy decision - they are paying him the same salary he earned at Tottenham and realise he will come with his own high standards of how the club is run at boardroom level.
Yet Mourinho also realises he needs a project that is different from those at Chelsea, Man United and Tottenham and believes this can be a platform to relaunch his own period of success as well as that of Roma.
There are early transfer targets being touted, with Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Eric Dier being spoken of as potential signings yet it is difficult to read too much into any of that right now. Of course Mourinho does like to have players within the dressing room that are fully on board with his style and philosophy, yet playing in Serie A is naturally closer to how he sees and plays the game these days than the Premier League is and players within the league will be easier to mould into a new team shape.
We should not discount the impact Jorge Mendes, his agent, will have on which players arrive at the club though.
There are current members of the squad he will embrace. He has always been an admirer of Justin Kluivert. He tried to sign Nicola Zaniolo as Spurs boss. In Gianluca Mancini he has a defender he is expected to build around.
Roma will be built to absorb pressure and hit teams on the break and it is a Mourinho function that should work well in the current climate of Italian football.
There is nothing to fear for Mourinho as he heads back to Italy. Champions Inter Milan are going to be forced to sell players this summer. Juventus are in crisis and struggling to even qualify for the Champions League. AC Milan are showing positive signs yet lack the belief and consistency to become a force.
There is opportunity to rebuild Roma and also rebuild his own status in the game. That's why he is taking this latest job.