Jose Mourinho remains on course for a sixth European final as a manager after seeing his Roma side claim a narrow 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen at the Stadio Olimpico in the Europa League semi-final first leg.
The Portuguese boss was hailed as the ‘King of Rome’ after guiding the Serie A side to an inaugural Europa Conference League title last term – in the process delivering the club’s first trophy in 14 years.
However, even if his bid to deliver back-to-back European titles is successful, just how long will he be in the Italian capital to bask in the adulation?
Mourinho’s contract at Roma is due to run until the summer of 2024 but in recent days there has been plenty of talk of him upping sticks this summer for an 11th managerial challenge, at Paris St-Germain.
The 60-year-old jokingly laughed off speculation on Wednesday, telling Sky Sport Italia, “If they called, they didn’t find me.”
But Roma’s hopes of reaching the Champions League appear to rest on Europa League glory, with the Giallorossi currently seventh in Italy’s top flight, so could he be tempted if the phone call comes?
‘He would like a project that is befitting his legacy’
Mourinho’s record of five wins in five European finals is likely to appeal to a club that has earned a reputation for stumbling on Europe’s biggest stage.
PSG’s failure to progress past Bayern Munich in the last 16 of this term’s Champions League was just the latest painful elimination from a competition that has become an obsession since they moved into Qatari ownership in 2011, with current boss Christophe Galtier expected to leave at the end of the campaign.
And even while they may have a major restructure of their squad on their hands this summer – with the likes of Lionel Messi departing – whoever is at the helm is expected to be presented with a considerably larger transfer kitty that the nine million euros outlaid by Roma last summer.
“I think Mourinho sees Roma as a way to bounce back to another big job,” Italian football journalist James Horncastle told the Euro Leagues Podcast.
“He can quite reasonably say he has been a qualified success in that they have won their first trophy for 14 years and they close to another European final.
“He is someone that ultimately wants to win wherever he goes and I think he feels that at Roma, unless they start changing the strategy and spending more money they are not going to be able to deliver a league title.
“He would like a project that is befitting his legacy again, which would be the chance to compete for a Champions League.”
‘If he is backed he is the manager for PSG’
Mourinho’s reputation may have suffered in the short term because of the manner of his departures from Manchester United and Tottenham but he remains one of the biggest names in football management.
He is also remains a fine tactician and capable of commanding respect in a dressing room full of stars.
“PSG do need somebody who, as soon as they come in, says ‘I don’t want him, I don’t want him, I don’t want him and I’m going to build through him’ and everybody follows and the players will go with that,” said Spanish journalist Guillem Balague
“If the club backs him up this way he is the manager for PSG. They don’t need someone to reinvent the wheel they need someone to organise that from the top and somebody will at some point have to give them direction.”
French football journalist Julien Laurens, added: “Who is Jose Mourinho’s best friend and agent? Jorge Mendes. Who is one of Jorge Mendes’ best friends? Luis Campos, who is also PSG’s sporting director.
“Campos and Mendes speak every day and Mendes is very influential and I’m sure that Mourinho’s name has come up in a shortlist of managers to replace Christophe Galtier.
“He might end up being the manager, he might not but certainly in Campos, there are favourable grounds.”