Jose Mourinho is close to a Chelsea return after Roman Abramovich agreed to swallow his pride and reappoint the “Special One” as manager.
Real Madrid coach Mourinho was due to be at Stamford Bridge on Monday night to watch Russia play Brazil as part of a whistle-stop visit to London.
And, six years after his tempestuous relationship with Abramovich ended in combustion, Mourinho is on the brink of consenting to go back “home” to the Blues.
It is understood Mourinho and Abramovich have reached a provisional agreement for the Portuguese to take over from interim Rafa Benitez this summer on a three-year contract.
There are still significant stumbling blocks before any deal can be signed though, with Anzhi Makhachkala’s Dutch veteran Guus Hiddink lined up as a potential fall-back option if the Mourinho move goes wrong.
Mourinho is believed to have made it clear that he will only consider a return if Chelsea finish in the top four, qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
More contentiously – and what could cause a major hurdle – the Portuguese is concerned about working in an environment where technical director Michael Emenalo and chief executive Ron Gourlay hold the levers of power.
Also, sources in France and Spain insist Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has struck a similar provisional deal with Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain, who are ready to dump ex-Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti if his expensively-assembled side do not win Ligue 1 this season.
But, with Mourinho determined to pack his bags and leave Real at the end of the season irrespective of whether he becomes the first manager to win the Champions League with three different clubs, it seems that the hopes and prayers of most Blues fans could be answered.
The 50-year-old has played a blatant game of tease with would-be suitors over recent weeks, including suggesting he could go back to a former club but that he might be ready to unleash a “surprise”.
What is evident, though, is that Abramovich – falsely reported by one Russian TV station to have been arrested in the United States on Monday – is ready to admit he made the biggest mistake of his reign when he parted company with Mourinho in 2007.