The story has been building for some time now. As Jose Mourinho wrapped up the domestic double, the Internazionale coach swiftly turned his attention towards the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, home of Real Madrid, where he will attempt to achieve an unprecedented treble by winning the Champions League for his Italian employers.

But Mourinho could be doing more than just visiting Los Blancos’ stronghold for the final of Europe’s blue ribbon competition. He could very well be gazing at the seat that he will so frequently occupy next year, should he be proclaimed as the next coach of Real Madrid. Up until the time of writing, all clues seem to point in that particular direction.

The tittle-tattle that proclaimed the “Special One” as the next man to join to the special club of Real Madrid coaches has indeed been bubbling along since last summer. The Portuguese might have signed a contract extension last year, but with the great possibility of his current team achieving all their goals for this season, Mourinho’s hourglass as head coach of the Nerazzurri seems to be on the verge of dropping its last grain of sand.

The man himself needs little introduction. Jose Mourinho has proven to be one of the best coaches found in football. As his Saturday opponent Louis van Gaal signalled, the Portuguese tactician is born to win. He may not put on a dazzling show, but he’ll make sure that his warriors leave the stadium with the spoils.

A quarter of a million euros later, Real Madrid are still second best to Barcelona. True, the Merengues ensured that the Blaugrana wouldn’t strut their way to the title, but the bottom line remains that for all the money spent, Florentino Perez’s team have drawn a trophy blank yet again.

After the end of the league season, Real Madrid director Jorge Valdano declared that Manuel Pellegrini’s role would carefully be examined by the club’s hierarchy, leaving a chance the Chilean could still be in command next year. While that may be great news for Pellegrini himself, who reiterated on a number of occasions that he’d like to see out the remainder of his contract, the former Villarreal tactician cannot ignore the omens: The cancellation of Real’s training session on Monday; Massimo Moratti’s skepticism when asked about the future of his coach, and the supposed news that Mourinho did not enroll his children in school for the next academic year, all point to his imminent exit.

The arrival of Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, to some people, seems only a matter of time. Rumour has it that the elephant will be out of the room on Saturday night, when the manager will declare the next move in the finely balanced game of chess that is his career. Indeed, it’s all a little too similar to the scenario which played itself out at Porto before he moved to Chelsea. But in all reality, for all of Mourinho’s impressive résumé, does he constitute Perez’s best option?

Here’s my CV

There’s no denying that the former Chelsea manager is one of the best bosses out there, with some pundits going as far as to declare him the best coach of recent years. Domestic league titles, local cups, and possibly a couple of Champions League medals say it all for a trainer that has made a name for himself ever since guiding Porto to the biggest trophy of all in 2004.

Perhaps more important is his record against Barcelona, Madrid’s fierce rivals. Sir Bobby Robson’s former translator managed to overtake the Blaugrana twice on the continental front: The first time was during his first season as Chelsea manager, where he defeated Frank Rijkaard’s team in the knockout phase. The second time was this season at Inter, where he tactically bested Los Cules at the Giuseppe Meazza before exhibiting Catenaccio football in its purest form in the return leg at the Camp Nou, ensuring the Beneamata dumped the title holders out of the competition.

But perhaps Mourinho’s greatest weapon is his charisma and ability to command a dressing room of egos. The Setubal-born coach is no fan of undisciplined players, and as Mario Balotelli and co. would readily testify. He simply would not blink twice if faced with problems inside the dressing room, especially one harbouring the egos of Madrid’s galacticos. A coach with these skills is exactly what president Perez looks for in a man before allowing him to settle into the hot-seat.

Not what we’re looking for

While the truth remains that any team associated with Jose Mourinho is all too often an automatic winner, Real Madrid remain nonetheless a very different club to those which the former Benfica head coach has encountered in his managerial career.

Up until now, the 47-year-old has built teams based on on-pitch control and tactical discipline. His Chelsea and Inter teams are renowned for their rigid style of play. In other words, Mourinho will get a result, but he may do so while boring the crowd for the whole 90 minutes, something that rarely goes unnoticed by the demanding Spanish supporters.
Very different from the English or Italian game, the Spanish La Liga has a distinct style of play. The players are given more freedom to venture up and down the pitch, something not often found in a Premier League match, where the space and time for players can be severely limted.

The fans at Madrid require a show. They require goals and lots of them. They want to see free-flowing give-and-take passing football, which ironically, is the kind of football that Josep Guardiola’s Barcelona play. Any person that can deliver this kind of excitement will surely be adored, while failure to do so can cost a coach his job, with the most notable example in recent years being Fabio Capello during the 2006/07 season.

Mourinho is not estranged from providing a football spectacle, but the Internazionale boss is known for his “business before pleasure” motto. In other words, “beautiful” football is not a must in his repertoire.

The arrival of Jose Mourinho as Real Madrid head coach seems only a matter of time at present. What remains to be seen is whether he’ll manage to win over the fans and fall in the same trap as the current England manager once did. Either way, it promises to be yet another spicy summer in the Spanish capital.