Former Sevilla, Tottenham and Real Madrid manager Juande Ramos has emerged as a potential replacement at Chelsea for Jose Mourinho, according to reports out of England. The 61-year-old Spaniard, whose most recent job was with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, has been unemployed since the end of Ukraine’s 2013-14 season, but he has surfaced as a surprise short-term option as Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich considers Mourinho’s future.
According to The Times, Abramovich is holding emergency meetings on Wednesday to consider the future of his current manager, whose job has become the source of increased speculation in the wake of Chelsea’s 2-1 loss Monday at Leicester City. The defeat left the Premier League’s defending champions one point above the relegation zone, continuing the worst start to a title defense in league history. Per reporting from the AFP, a contract buyout of Mourinho, who signed a four-year extension last season, would cost Chelsea between $15 and $40 million.
Despite that price, as well as the support of a fanbase that’s begun singing to “The Special One” during home matches, Mourinho’s position has become increasingly untenable. After post-match comments on Monday in which Mourinho confessed to feeling “betrayed” by his players, the relationship between the three-time Premier League-winner and his squad is being questioned. In addition, Mourinho’s skepticism over an injury to Eden Hazard, who removed himself during the match at the King Power Stadium, has spurred questions over the man management of Mourinho’s most important talent.
The furor marks the second time this season Mourinho’s job has been the subject of major speculation, with Chelsea’s board having previously issued a vote of confidence amid links to former Blues bosses Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. Now a new name has emerged, with the veteran Ramos connected with the club for the first time. If he is appointed, it will mark his first job in England since being fired by Tottenham on Oct. 25, 2008.
Who is Juande Ramos?
Ramos’s departure from White Hart Lane came nearly one year after he’d been appointed to replace Martin Jol, with the move reaping immediate rewards when the two-time UEFA Cup winner took Spurs to the 2007-08 League Cup. But over the course of 54 league games, Ramos only produced 21 wins, and when he left Spurs two days short of his one-year anniversary, Tottenham were at the bottom of the Premier League.
That winter, Ramos was appointed Bernd Schuster’s replacement at Real Madrid and went on to preside over one of the one-sided Clasicos in the club’s history. Despite an 18-match unbeaten run before the teams’ spring 2009 meeting, Real Madrid lost to Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu, 6-2, sparking a streak of four consecutive defeated that ceded La Liga’s title to Barca.
Ramos went on to a short-lived tenure at CSKA Moscow before resurfacing in Ukraine with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. Helped by an uptick in investment from the club, Ramos won 56 percent of his league matches during four seasons in Dnipropetrovsk. In 2013-14, the club finished second in Ukraine’s Premier League and, one year after Ramos’s departure, would make the final of Europa League.
During a coaching career that began in 1990, one that’s included stops at 15 different clubs, Ramos has claimed two UEFA Cups, one UEFA Super Cup, a Copa del Rey, a Spanish Super Cup and England’s League Cup. He won promotion from Spain’s second division with Rayo Vallecano in 1999 and Logrones in 1995. During his last year in Ukraine, he led Dnipro to the club’s best league finish in 22 years.
Now, one year after leaving Ukraine to spend more time with his family, Ramos has emerged as a surprise contender for one of the world’s most prestigious jobs. Though early reports hint it will be a short-term appointment, not unlike fellow Spaniard Rafa Benitez’s time at the Bridge from Nov. 2012 through May 2013, the job would com with some distinct perks: a shot at Paris Saint-Germain in Champions League; the opportunity to safe a club’s season; and an opening to reestablish himself as a viable option for big clubs across Europe.
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