Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mourinho’s second coming: Abramovich turns down Emenalo’s resignation

Nigeria’s Michael Emenalo has offered to resign from his role as Chelsea’s sporting director to facilitate the return of Jose Mourinho. But it is understood that Emenalo’s proposal was immediately rejected by Roman Abramovich, the owner, who views him as an important adviser and wants to keep him at Stamford Bridge, The Times reports. Emenalo who has at various times served as the club’s international scout and assistant coach is now the Technical Director.

Emenalo’s influence emerged as a potential problem during negotiations to bring Mourinho back as manager, but Abramovich is determined to keep him and is adamant that the pair work together. Mourinho did not demand Emenalo’s removal, but the former Nigeria international is ready to give way for the good of the team.

Behind-the-scenes talks for his expected return to Stamford Bridge have seen Mourinho demand for ‘full control’ rebuffed by Abramovich and his board. They have insisted that the Technical Director must remain in charge of player recruitment. Mourinho has also been told he will have to accept working under Emenalo if he wants to return to Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho raised the hopes and expectations of the Blues fans that he was on his way “home” as he spoke warmly of the enduring “love” from the Chelsea faithful during one of the UEFA Champions League post-match media briefings.

But while the “Special One” and his advisors have been involved in negotiations with the Chelsea hierarchy for months the rejection of the demand for full control has seen the Portuguese checking his option by also looking in the direction of Paris St Germain, who have also held talks with his agent Jorge Mendes and are likely to bend over backwards to offer the 50-year-old a deal he wants. But despite the PSG opportunity Mourinho’s preferred option is to go back to Chelsea where Emenalo is now in charge following changes made in the administration of the London club after the ‘Special One’ left there six years ago. After Mourinho left in 2007 Emenalo took charge of player recruitment and involved in the ongoing negotiations to land Atletico Madrid striker Radomel Falcao and Andre Schuerrle from Bayer Leverkusen.

His ranking in Chelsea may have made him to ignore the Nigeria Football Federation when they tried reaching him for the position of Technical Director for Nigeria in 2010. Emenalo played in the 1994 World Cup with the Super Eagles.

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