If Emery is forced out of Arsenal and Mourinho comes in, what happens next

by Tony Attwood

As Mourinho is the man that the media say is coming to Arsenal as the next manager, I thought I would look at Mourinho and his record with the clubs he has managed – and indeed look at what happened after he left (generally following a mega-falling out with the club).

Because in ideal terms it seems to me that one wants as a manager a person who wins the league, and when he leaves, he leaves behind a club in better state that it was when the manager joined.

If we consider Arsene Wenger in these terms, he joined a club that in its previous seasons had finished 4th, 12th, 4th, 10th, 5th in the league.   Although clearly his record slipped at the end, what he left was an expectation of champions league qualification as a minimum, whereas when he joined, top four finishes, were not the norm, and indeed twice we had sunk to depths that are unimaginable today.  He also left a club awash with talented youngsters, and a stadium debt totally wiped out.

So the question is, has Mourinho, who is much more of a short term manager than Arsene Wenger, left the clubs he has managed in a good position and with a positive feeling?

Benfica was his first appointment, in 2000, and it is noteworthy that after Mourinho’s short spell with the club – a club that was used to winning the league indeed –  they did not win it again until 2005, and after that not until 2010.   The regular return to the top of the league did not start again until 2015 (when they began a run of four wins in five years).

Mourinho left after demanding much more power which a new incoming chairman would not give him what he wanted.   A similar situation arose with Uniao de Leiria his second club, so again he walked.    Then Mourinho went on to Porto where he won the league twice – pretty much the norm for the club, and he did indeed take them to new Champions League heights, and it was this run that attracted the attention of Chelsea.

But at Porto everything again ended very badly, because it seems Mourinho was negotiating his departure to Chelsea behind the backs of the owners, instead of celebrating the success he had given the club.

But Porto continued their success without Mourinho, Mourinho gained two titles with Chelsea, and in the years after he left they got 2nd, 3rd and 1st place in the league – suggesting that he again left a legacy.   However we might note that finance was the key here.  Chelsea were the club intent on blowing everyone else away because they had the money of a Russian oil billionaire.  Arsenal are owned by a billionaire, but not one willing to put billions into the club.  If Mourinho leaves a mess at Arsenal it will not be easy to set it right afterwards.

And Mourinho is not remembered as a hero by many supporters at Chelsea, because again he just walked out when he didn’t get what he wanted.   And he is not remembered with affection at Inter Milan, the club he went to next, because he told the players they had won nothing, because their past teams were not that good.

True won the treble in Miland, which of course is a fantastic achievement, but when we come to look at what he left at the club after he moved on, the record is not so great. No legacy in fact… the club has slipped away, far behind Juventus.

The same again is true in Madrid, where most commentators note him as a divisive influence who split the players into groups.  The team itself won the league once, but not in the style that Real Madrid expected and demanded.  He had been brought in to challenge Barcelona, which he did for a short while.  But then he left, and Real Madrid, despite their wealth, went into further decline.

So when we look at his big club managements and see what happened, yes he won the league twice with Inter Milan.   In the following seasons after he left the club ended up 2nd, 6th, 9th, 5th and 8th.

With Real Madrid, and remember this is Real Madrid, the eternal winners of stuff, after he left they came 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 3rd.   And this is in a league where they expect to win it all the time.  (He won it once, in 2017).

It was even worse in his second run at Chelsea (2013/15).  One title has come their way since then (despite the billions and billions spent on the club).   Chelsea have come 10th, 3rd, 5th and 3rd.  The public rows were great run – for the rest of us – but not for Chelsea fans.

As for Manchester United he, for once, did not get his way, and the club not only faltered under him, in terms of league titles, that faltering has continued.

Mourinho is not a guarantee of winning the league, but he is seemingly a guarantee of a serious decline after he leaves.

27 Replies to “If Emery is forced out of Arsenal and Mourinho comes in, what happens next”

  1. it does not matter we dont need unaaaai emery a serial substitute manager- a agambler..please where on earth do you change a wining team you replace kids wit experience not in the premier league…no.no..UUNAAAI EEEMEERY OUT,,.

  2. Tony

    Whilst Mourinho is a football personality I despise more than anyone else, a few things has to be said in his defence:

    1) he won two European trophies with Porto (UEFA Cup 2003 and Champions League 2004),

    2) he came close to invincibility with Chelsea (a sole defeat coming at hands of our Nic Anelka and Man City),

    3) he won Champions League with Inter going through the toughest possible route (Chelsea, Barcelona, Bayern) with a squad that was assembled from players bigger teams didn’t want (Lucio, Cambiasso, Sneijder, Eto’o) and most of my friends who are Inter fans would be thrilled if he returns there,

    4) at Real, he won the league with 100 points while Mesut Özil-inspired attack scored over 120 goals,

    5) at Chelsea (second spell), he won the league again even if Man City had more expensive team,

    6) at Man U, he won European League and League Cup in his first season – two-and-half years ago.

  3. @Tony, the only thing we get from this article is that you don’t like mourinho, we already knew that. Most of the rest of your article is speculation, opinion. Inter fans don’t want him back? Lol. I don’t want him near arsenal but that doesn’t me I can’t bring myself to respect what he’s achieved in football. He achieved both the Europa league and champs league at Porto with far less resources than Wenger had at arsenal. Even when he won it with inter I don’t have the facts but I believe arsenal had more resources than his inter team. Don’t even bring up the head to head between him and Wenger.

  4. While I dislike Mourinho, I’d argue that a manager of his ilk is exactly the right appointment for the current Arsenal. The reasons being:

    1) This squad is not particularly deep. Mourinho tends to prefer a very small squad with very little rotation. He’s proven (in short spells) to be able to manage just enough rotation to keep his small squad fresh enough to succeed for a season or two.

    2) He’s got an affinity for building the squad around experienced players, and has had more success doing so than most. Being fair, we’ve got an older squad at the moment if you consider Ozil a key part of the group. Mesut, PEA, Sokratis, and Luiz are all key outfield players in their 30s. Lacazette, given his position, is probably at the peak of his career right now. Hiring a manager that knows how to deal with older players would be a plus.

    3) He’d (theoretically) be able to get more meaningful contributions out of Xhaka, Lacazette, and Ozil. In every place he’s had success, he’s had to build a system around a dynamic offensive talent that offers little to nothing defensively. That’s something a lot of managers struggle with, but he’s got an obvious history of doing well. He’s shown the ability to get two strikers on the pitch in an effective manner multiple times, which would be a welcome change here. And as far as Xhaka is concerned, I think just about everyone would agree that he’s typically at his most effective when there’s less space between the lines to account for, and that’s always been a core principle of Mourinho football.

    4) A short term manager at this point in Arsenal’s cycle isn’t a bad thing. When Wenger left, I really didn’t like the makeup of the squad. Too many guys were past their primes and on high wages, I thought we were heading for a decline for several seasons just due to aging/refreshing of the squad (saw the same with United post Fergie and Chelsea post Ancelotti). I like some of the young guys we’ve brought in, but we still aren’t at the point where we have enough new talent to adequately replace the guys we’ve lost. As long as the club stays the course and keeps targeting guys still on the upward arc of their careers, Mourinho’s eventual replacement ought to be in a better position than Mr. Emery was when appointed in terms of squad makeup.

    Assuming the board is planning for Mourinho to be nothing but a short term manager, I think he’d be fine. Still can’t stand Mourinho personally, but I think we’d be in a better place with Jose, who is just better at implementing the same style of football we seem to be trying to play now than Emery, than we are right now.

  5. So we’re actually discussing this here? Who’s next? Really?
    A bunch of brainless cowards hide behind ‘insidious media’ or shout abuse from the stands and suddenly the narrative is UE is a dead man walking and even the Specialist in himself is in the conversation.
    Generation snowflake has thrown its toys out of the pram yet again because we don’t win every game every time and now the grownups have even started to indulge them. The same kind of populist non-thinking that produced Trump across the water, Brexit lunacy in the UK and an insatiable demand for instant gratification everywhere is showing up at the Arsenal and discrediting our club.

  6. “He also left … a stadium debt totally wiped out.”

    You’ve got a blind spot about that, Tony. No matter how many times it’s pointed out to you that the stadium debt still has twenty years or so to run, you persist in claiming it’s totally wiped out.

  7. Seems to be contradiction here. You say Porto thrived with and after Mourinho, but Mourinho is a ‘guarantee of decline after he leaves’.
    Anyway, love him or hate him, Mourinho is up there as one of the most successful managers (measured in Trophies) of his generation. Possibly the most successful.
    But Emery is our manager now, with a squad of great promise, so surely we need to give him more time, and that the time to draw conclusions on whether he’s right to take the club forward is at the end of the season. Which is presumably what will happen irrespective.

  8. Yilch

    Your admiration for Mourinho is quite touching but I think you should know a few facts, rather than ‘speculating’, before you fall too much in love.

    “He achieved both the Europa league and champs league at Porto with far less resources than Wenger had at arsenal”

    It is true that what Mourinho achieved at Porto was special, it is what he built his career, and ‘monika’ on, and he actually did it on a £6 Million profit regarding transfer spend, but lets not pretend Wenger was a big spender either. Over those same 2 seasons Wenger had a net spend of just £17 Million himself.

    But it’s from this moment on their modus operandi diverged spectacularly.

    In the 10 seasons between seasons ’03 ’04 and ’12 ’13 Wengers net spend was in PROFIT to the tune of £14 Million.

    Conversely in Mourinho’s first 4 season spell at Chelsea he amassed a net LOSS of £290 MILLION

    As you will see bellow in my response to your claims about his time at Inter, though maintaining a rather better Net spend of £40 Million, he continued his massive spending there as well.


    You accuse Tony:

    “Most of the rest of your article is speculation”

    Then you do the very same speculating yourself, but spectacularly inaccurately:

    “Even when he won it with inter I don’t have the facts but I believe arsenal had more resources than his inter team”

    INTER SPENDING ’08/09 PLUS ’09/10 = £142 MILLION

    ARSENAL SPENDING ’08/09 PLUS ’09/10 = £26 MILLION

    Of course we did.

    Then after Inter he went to Madrid for 3 years over seasons ’10 ’11 to ’12 ’13 where he had a net spend of £120 MILLION.

    So in conclusion lets compare Wengers and Mourinho’s Net spends between seasons ’03 ’04 and’12 ’13:


    Arsenal: £14 Million PROFIT


    Chelsea: £280 Million LOSS
    Inter: £40 Million LOSS
    Madrid: £120 Million LOSS

    Total: £440 Million LOSS

    Mourinho out spent Wenger over that 10 year period by an astronomical £454 MILLION

    So when you say “Don’t even bring up the head to head between him and Wenger” you’re quite right, because frankley, given the astronimical disparity between the twos spending it would be the most ridiculously misleading thing to do.

    I agree with you on one thing though “I don’t want him near arsenal”. Here here to that.

    Oh, and before you laugh at people or accuse them of ‘speculation’ perhaps you should do a little research.

  9. Nitram

    Not for one second suggesting that Jose didn’t spend big but in his first 4 year spell at Chelsea his net spend was( according to Transfer league £145 million ( not the £280m. + you suggest) Mourinho wasn’t at Chelsea in 2003/4 indeed he was winning the champions league at Porto

    At Arsenal it was a net spend of an incredible £4.7 million

    In Jose’s second spell at Chelsea in the years 2013/14- 2015/16 his nett spend was £63.5 million . AWs spend at Arsenal during the same period was £111.1 million

  10. We could of course compare them once Wenger had a chance to get at least somewhere near to Mourinho’s Spending. You know, a bit more like for like.

    Lets look at Mourinho’s little 3 year spell at United between ’16/17 and ’18/19

    Nett spend: £285 Million.


    1 x EL

    1 x LC

    1 x CS (He said it was a trophy)

    PL: 6th-2nd-6th

    Wenger 4 year spell between ’14/13 and ’16/17

    Nett spend: £196 Million

    3 x FA Cups

    2x CS’s

    PL: 4th-4th-2nd-5th

    I know who looks best in that little comparison despite Mourinho spending nearly £100 Million Nett more.

    You see, before making comparisons and drawing conclusions it’s always best to look a little closer, because things are not always quite as they seem at first glance.

  11. Mike T

    My apologies. I did do the wrong first season for Chelsea. Haven’t checked Wengers 10 year spend as it hardly makes any difference in the great scheme of things.

    But it hardly changes the narrative that Mourinho based his success on big spending over a period when Wenger was operating on what was basically an annual zero Nett spend, thereby making comparisons on there relative achievements irrelevant.

    As you see from my interim post I know Wenger started spending more but if you compare Wenger with Mourinho across his 2nd Chelsea stint and his United stint, where Wenger was closer to but still a way bellow Mourinho’s spending, there records are much much closer.

    Given they where competing in the same league, over the same period, with an at least vaguely comparable net spend, their records where fairly similar.

    I was trying to make the point that discrediting Wenger and lording Mourinho during a period of such diverse circumstances is completely and utterly unfair.

    But thank you for your corrections. I don’t always agree with you Mike but you never fail to at least try to validate everything you say and as such do yourself great credit by doing so.

  12. Mike T

    By the way I’m not saying Mourinho isn’t a great manager, he is of course. I’m just not sure he’s a good fit for us. In fact I’m sure he’s not.

  13. Nitram

    Or how about 2013/14 – 2015/16?

    Arsenal Chelsea

    2013/14. £32.5 million Fa Cup. £49.3 million
    2014/15. £65.4 million. FACup £5.1 million Champions & LC. Winners
    2015/16. £13.2 million. £9.1. million

    Total. £111.1 million £63.5 million

    As an aside quite a few of the players bought by Chelsea during that period are still at the club.

    Players like Willian. Zouma and Pedro who are in the first team squad alongside others like Kennedy, Raham and Brown who are on loan but several of course have moved on fees to date received for players purchased during JM in the years 2013/14-2015/16 a out to £190 million.

  14. Nitram

    JM was, past tense, a great manager but his day is done if you appoint him then John Henry’s question about what are they smoking at Arsenal would be justified in asking it again.

    UE isn’t going to take Arsenal forward and just like most clubs who replace a long time appointee rarely get it right first time.

  15. @Nitram, you seem to be in a real haste to contradict an assertion that wasn’t made. Never did I say mourinho spent more or less than Wenger. Rather I compared resources available at arsenal and at inter/ Porto. What you have instead brought up here is net spend. Honestly I don’t know when and how they became the same. We get the resources available at a club from sources like Forbes/ deloitte etc. Let me give an example of what I mean, this summer, I believe Aston villa were the highest spending EPL team, does that equate to being the richest? Not in my books. I rest my case.
    As for loving mourinho, sorry to disappoint you sir, I don’t love him, I grudgingly respect him.

  16. OK, so in other words, the article is full of speculation, but I’m not qualified to point that out because I’m also guilty of speculating. Guilty as charged, however remember I informed beforehand that I was speculating, not making statements as fact.

  17. Mike T

    I’m sure you’ll agree that the bigger the sample the better the conclusions. Therefore lets take the period of Mourinho’s return to the premiership that does coincide with Arsenal comming out of austerity and giving Wenger some money to spend.

    So lets compare Wenger to Mourinho over the 5 year period 2013/14 – 2017/18


    Nett Spend:

    £186 Million


    3 x Fa Cups

    3 x Community Shields

    PL Finishes: 4 – 3 – 2 – 5 – 6 Mean finish = 4


    Nett Spend: £321 Million


    1 x PL

    1 x EL

    2 x LC

    2 x CS

    PL Finishes: 3 – 1 – 10 – 6 – 2 Mean finish = 4.4

    I’m sure you’ll agree the 2 records are almost identical except of course for Mourinho’s title at Chelsea. I agree that is a big trophy but of course Wenger did come close when finishing Runner up.

    But let’s not forget that despite Wenger spending more money than he ever could before he still had a Nett spend over those 5 seasons £135 Million less than Mourinho.

    Who’s to say that extra £135 million wouldn’t of been enough to turn that Runners up into that elusive title ?

    Either way, my point holds that given a much leveller playing field financially, though by no means level, Wenger and Mourinho performed to an almost identical level.

    And I say again, comparisons that have been made during Arsenals austerity years (not by you) are completely unfair.

    You also mention Mourinho’s legacy of players, which is fair enough, but I think Wengers legacy is pretty good too, inclusive of both senior and academy players.

    PS: I have taken every care to get my figures correct but if there are any errors again I apologise.

  18. Fair enough to your guilty plea.

    As for the rest. As usual you present absolutely no evidence what so ever.

  19. Nitram

    What I genuinely love when talking about football is when two polar opposite views are arrived out from information available. When it is sad is when the other cannot see any view other than theirs.

    You ask an interesting question as to what may have occurred if AW had spent more . The simple answer is we will never know.

    What I do wonder is if more funds were actually available indeed rumours were that you had looked long and hard at quite a few players but for a variety of reasons decided against getting them to sign. Some of course will have used Arsenals interest in them to get other suitors elsewhere and more often than not got better financial packages as a result.

    Having said all that as we see far more often than not big money transfers don’t quite turn out as you would expect. For instance Everton have spent huge huge sums and looking at them yesterday and supported by their current league position they are miles away from challenging for a top 6 place. Add to the mix that we have made huge numbers of mistakes but somehow we tend to quite often recover their fee or send them out on loan with other clubs paying a chunk of money to take them off our hands.

    I have to be brutally honest and say the £150+ nett spent by UE doesn’t seem to have changed the quality or indeed tactical nous of the squad that AW left behind and I realise some will point to a place and 7 point improvement season on season as evidence to contradict me but to a degree UE benefited from AW now I see it more about being all his own work.

    For what it’s worth , and no doubt it will provoke some contrary views here’s my take on a some of your squad.

    Leno. Looks reasonable value for a GK. Not sure he is good enough with his feet to be asked to play out so often from the back particularly if teams employ a high press.

    Bellerin. Prior to his injury electric pace decent going forward will struggle to regain top form.

    Chambers really isn’t a RB when he comes up against top quality left wingers he will be badly shown up.

    Sokratis. Decent back up really isn’t top drawer.

    Holding . Full of potential like Bellerin the long term injury absence may have an impact going forward.

    Mustafi. Dearie me.

    Kosalnic. Again a decent enough player but more second choice.

    Tierney. Seems a decent purchase. Not quite sure he has ever been tested to the level he will be in most PL games.

    David Luiz. Really? Take a look at your goal on Saturday. Ok it came off but why oh why was he so far advanced ? Had Wolves dealt with the throw in and moved the ball forward at pace you were open.

    Ozil he truly is a class player but for one reason or another just doesn’t show it often enough.

    Guendozi. Great engine but he needs talking to on the pitch because he try’s to do everything.Huge potential but needs more coaching.

    Torreira. Would improve dramatically if he were deployed in a more defensive role.

    Cellebos. Really am struggling to make my mind up about him. Skilful and technically sound but positional awareness is sadly lacking.

    Xhaka. Is a better player than he is showing at Arsenal. Probably would be better in a league that’s pace is not so high.

    Martinelli. Seems to be a top talent but needs careful management as placing too high expectations on him could be counter productive.

    PEA. Love him to be at Chelsea. His contract situation could be a time bomb.

    Pepe. Seems a decent talent. Great ability at free kicks but no guarantees just because he cost up a fortune.

    Lacazette. Not as prolific as PEA and for me you just can’t play the two together.

    AMN . Needed to go out on loan.Willock and Saka huge potential

  20. Im of the thinking that Mourinho might have mellowed out somewhat with his time out of football and being a pundit. His insight when I do watch is very interesting and beats most other pundits.

  21. Mike T

    Personally I just don’t know what’s wrong. I’m no coach and have never professed to be one, which is why I never come on here shouting the odds about what the manager should or shouldn’t be doing.

    Of course I have my favourite players like everyone else, but I put my faith in the manager, whoever that may be, and give him and the lads my full support.

    Personally I think we have a very good quality squad, a squad I believed would be comfortably in the top 4 and given a fair wind could of at least been in touch with the top 2.

    Alas for whatever reason the team are just not performing to there potential.

    Or maybe they are and they are just not as good as I thought they were.

    I am a little concerned but I’m still prepared to stick by the manager and trust he will get it sorted.

  22. Ben

    Mourinho has the kind of personality that is always going to polarise opinion.

    If he’s in your camp you’ll love him. If he’s against you he’s always going to rub you up the wrong way.

    What little I’ve heard him speak as a pundit I have to agree he comes across well.

    Insightful and balanced I would say, so straight away streets ahead of the majority of pundits.

    There is no doubt he is a great manager but as I said earlier, would he be a good fit at Arsenal? I’m not sure.

    I have a couple of issues.

    Firstly money.

    As much as people have suggested otherwise I still believe, as I think I have demonstrated elsewhere, he is a chequebook manager. A very good one, but a chequebook manager non the less.

    Yes yes I know all about Porto but since then he has spent big everywhere he’s been.

    Would that be a risk for us? Maybe.

    But on the flip side surely he would know he just wouldn’t have the funds he’s had before? So why would he come if he wasn’t prepared to work under such restraints?

    My other issue is more sentimental as I feel, given their history, it would in some peculiar way be a betrayal of Wenger.

    Could I swallow that if he came and won us a title or even a Champions League. Of course I could. At the end of the day as much as I loved Wenger first and foremost I’m an Arsenal fan.

    Then we have his style of play.

    Again I loved Wengerball and would love us to be true to his legacy but managers capable of playing that brand of football AND winning with it are a rare breed, so you have to be realistic. So as such would I have a problem winning trophies a la Mourinhos ‘style’?

    Well I have to say I never had any problems enjoying following George Graham’s teams far and wide, so the answer is no, not really.

    But as I said earlier my preferred option is we stick with Emery, at least until the end of the season and take stock then.

  23. JM is a smart manipulater of a squad. His method is based on good study of the opponents and preparation to the detail. His results are clearly successful. His expenditure is not his problem as he is more of a coach.

    His shortcomings are his arrogance and abrasive personality. Certainly not my cuppa.

  24. @Martin, @least we agree that mourinho is/was a great coach. That’s exactly what I meant to tell Tony.

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