Thursday 22 March 2018

Dzeko tops wish-list as Mourinho jets back to Bridge

Jason Burt

JOSE MOURINHO is expected to be confirmed as Chelsea's new manager by Wednesday. The 50-year-old Portuguese flew into London yesterday for further discussions after agreeing a deal to return to Stamford Bridge six years after he was sacked.

Mourinho's first task will be to recruit a top-class striker – with Manchester City's Edin Dzeko and Fiorentina's Stefan Jovetic, previously wanted by Arsenal, now on his list of targets.

There have been suggestions that Mourinho will sell defender David Luiz to generate funds for more deals, but the Brazilian signed a lucrative long-term contract last year and is a favourite of Roman Abramovich.

Dzeko would fit the mould of the kind of powerful, tall striker that Mourinho favours, while Jovetic can also play behind the main forward.

Mourinho is not expected to make wholesale changes, although there have been suggestions he wants to add Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic – who Chelsea sold to the Portuguese club as part of the Luiz deal – and 22-year-old Porto centre-half Eliaquim Mangala.

Throughout his final match in charge of Real Madrid on Saturday, the Bernabeu crowd engaged in a sort of aural civil war. Led by a noisy gaggle of ultras behind one goal, those who supported Mourinho chanted his name loud and long.

But they were at times almost drowned out by whistling from other fans who had grown weary of his provocative turns and theatrics.

Mourinho signed off with a 4-2 victory over Osasuna, with goals from Gonzalo Higuain, Michael Essien, Karim Benzema and Jose Callejon.

Madrid finished a distant 15 points behind arch-rivals Barcelona, who crowned their title by equalling the record of 100 points with a 4-1 win over Malaga on Saturday.

David Villa, Cesc Fabregas, Martin Montoya and Andres Iniesta all scored for Barcelona – who bagged 115 goals in the league campaign – before Pedro Morales pulled one back for Malaga. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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