Mourinho returning to Chelsea would be bad news for five players

Mourinho makes dig at Tottenham over sacking more than a year on

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Chelsea fans may need to be careful what they wish for in calling for Graham Potter to be replaced after reports emerged that Jose Mourinho is keen on managing the west London club for a third time. Mourinho left Chelsea in acrimonious circumstances in both of his trophy-laden spells at the club and it seemed almost impossible for the Portuguese to set foot in the dugout once again after later taking charge at Manchester United and Tottenham.

But, according to the Daily Mail, the Roma boss, 60, is said to be keen to return to England where his family are settled and still reside while he works in Italy. The report mentions Chelsea would be his ‘preferred’ destination, although he would be open to other opportunities, with a potential opening at West Ham amid doubts over David Moyes’ future.

The prospect of having Mourinho back would frighten some fans, who are still haunted by how the club were left in 16th position when Mourinho was sacked in December 2015. However, things are not much this season with Potter’s men currently languishing in 10th place, and Mourinho’s three Premier League titles to his name among other trophies suggests he has a winning formula in west London.

If Mourinho did make an extraordinary return to Chelsea, there could be a number of players who may not fit the bill. Express Sport looks at five members of the squad who could have reason to feel concern over their places.

Christian Pulisic

Mourinho typically likes his players to play through the pain barrier as part of their commitment to the club and buying into his philosophy of winning at all costs. But Pulisic has consistently picked up knocks and spent time on the sidelines, suggesting they may not be a good fit.

It is not dissimilar from the treatment Eden Hazard received, but the Belgian found a way to cope despite sustaining kicks to his ankles. The American forward, however, has struggled with injuries in his four years in England and has been linked with a move away from the club after being reduced to a backup role.

Pulisic is a useful player but Mourinho may prefer the pace and power of January recruits Mykhaylo Mudryk and Noni Madueke over the USA international’s creative influence, as demonstrated in the past by his falling out with Juan Mata.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Even if his ego has deflated a little in light of his recent struggles in the dugout, Mourinho’s confrontational style of management doesn’t mix well with players who fail to fall in line. Aubameyang has shown a tendency to push the boundaries of discipline in the past and his lacklustre performances would do little to protect him from being sold.

Indeed, with the emerging talent David Datro Fofana resembling something of a Didier Drogba 2.0 option, Mourinho may be tempted to flog Aubameyang at the first available opportunity with Kai Havertz and Armando Broja at his disposal.

Ben Chilwell

Since arriving in a £50million transfer from Leicester in September 2020, Chilwell has played 68 times and scored eight goals for Chelsea, highlighting his impact going forward as a well as defending in the wing-back slot. Crucially though, he has also missed 57 games after rupturing his ACL and now suffering a serious hamstring injury.

The 26-year-old is a quality operator when fit but his proneness to injury makes him an unreliable squad option, and explains why Chelsea paid £62m to sign Marc Cucurella from Brighton. If nothing else, Chilwell may want to ask for Luke Shaw’s opinion on how sympathetic Mourinho was in treating him after his injury issues.

Benoit Badiashile

Mourinho spent years trying to sign Kalidou Koulibaly in his second spell at Chelsea and when he was in charge of Manchester United, so a return to Stamford Bridge would finally see the pair work together. And that could interrupt the progress made by new signing Badiashile.

The 21-year-old has looked a shrewd signing already after impressing in his first few appearances for the Blues. But Mourinho is known to favour experience over youth and, with the Senegalese at Mourinho’s disposal, Badiashile could find himself warming the bench as an understudy.

Lewis Hall

Graham Potter has shown a willingness to hand chances to graduates of Chelsea’s famed Cobham academy. But looking at the history books during his combined five and a half years at Chelsea, Mourinho rarely makes such promises to young players.

Hall has been a positive influence since making his Premier League debut earlier in the season against Newcastle and Mourinho would be naive to ignore his versatility and potential. But at the same time, the 18-year-old is still a raw talent and he may see his first-team action limited in favour of bringing a more experienced player like Cucurella in at left-back.

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