Jose Mourinho To Napoli Makes Little Sense Amid Speculation

Jose Mourinho to Napoli? Surely not?


The rumours coming out of England in the last few days suggests that the Portuguese coach doesn’t want to leave Serie A and is refusing the idea of moving to Saudi Arabia to manage a team in the Saudi Pro League.

According to The Times, Mourinho has instructed his agent Jorge Mendes to broker a meeting with Napoli patron Aurelio De Laurentiis with the idea of Mourinho becoming the new Napoli boss ahead of next season.

The meeting, should it happen, could happen over the course of the next week or two. What is certain at this stage is that interim boss Walter Mazzarri won’t be on the bench for next season, with his return proving as much of a disaster as Rudi Garcia’s appointment last summer.

Does Mourinho to Napoli make sense? There are reasons for and against hiring Mourinho and, as ever with him, it’s a little complex.

Lets start with the pros. Mourinho undoubtedly has the personality needed to handle the pressure of the job. Following the success of Luciano Spalletti leading Napoli to their first league title since the halcyon days of Diego Maradona, Napoli need a coach with leadership and charisma in the pro-Spalletti landscape. In this respect both Garcia and Mazzarri were horrendous choices by De Laurentiis, particularly the former. Mourinho would also find the kind of devotion from the Napoli faithful that he found at Roma, with both clubs arguably possessing the most hardcore fans in the country. He would be loved in Naples just as much as he was in the capital.

For Mourinho in 2024, that’s about the height of the pros when considering taking him on. The once suave and charming figure of the mid-2000s has long since gone; left behind by a game that tends to follow Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp. Nowadays, you hire Mourinho at your own risk, with generally the first season being the best before the sharp decline begins by the start of the second.

As for the cons, there are many. For starters, Mourinho doesn’t come cheap. He was the second highest paid coach in Serie A before his Roma sacking a week ago. Despite his diminished status, Mourinho would demand similar money (around $8m-10m) to coach Napoli and, with De Laurentiis being particularly frugal when it comes to running Napoli, it’s difficult to see the Italian parting with that kind of money. Only for Antonio Conte would the 74-year-old likely produce that kind of pay packet.

On the pitch, De Laurentiis likes his teams to play good football. This was evident in the Maurizio Sarri and Spalletti years. Mourinho is on the completely other end of the spectrum; a coach who cares little about playing well and gaining results. Mourinho is arguably better suited for a Juventus than a Napoli in terms of football philosophy. It would be no surprise to see Mourinho turn Khvicha Kvaratskhelia into a left-back and forcing the Georgian to spend more time in his own half than in the opposition’s.

Then there’s also the inevitable noise Mourinho brings with him; the constant blaming of referees when things don’t go his way. This was one of the reasons why Roma let him go, as the Friedkin Group were reportedly tired of the same accusations against officials after a Roma defeat. De Laurentiis is an-already spiky enough character in this regard, there’s little need for Napoli to double down by hiring Mourinho.

Weighing it up, there seems more downside than up to keeping Mourinho in Serie A. Stylistically, both Mourinho and Conte would be bad choices for a club spoiled in the recent past with beautiful football. The perfect manager for Napoli next season is Vincenzo Italiano, and De Laurentiis should rectify the mistake he made last summer in not going for the Fiorentina coach by doing so this.

Italiano fits Napoli perfectly; he wouldn’t command a great salary, he embraces attacking football and doesn’t attack referees or seek alibis when results don’t go his way. Italiano to Napoli almost makes too much sense. But one thing is for sure, Mourinho to Napoli makes little of it.


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