Florentino Pérez and José Ángel Sánchez led the emergency meeting held by the leaders of Madrid this Wednesday at dawn, after the win against Ajax (1-4) that eliminated them from the Champions League. After pondering whether to strike the coach, Santiago Solari, whether to replace a coach linked to the home, whether to sign José Mourinho, now or for June, or wait to see how other coaches such as Massimiliano Allegri perform in the Champions League , of Juventus, or Mauricio Pochettino, of Tottenham, the conclusion they reached was that they would not rush. They would let the water run. At least until this Sunday, when the team will visit Valladolid in a league match that Real Madrid officials glimpse with pessimism. After hours of deep debate the only certainty reached was that all the solutions go through a hoop of fire.
To dismiss Solari suddenly had only one advantage, according to sources from the Madrid government. Leaving the technician they appointed provisionally after the dismissal of Lopetegui in October would serve to show the partners that Madrid reacted strongly after being eliminated from all competitions on March 5. Those present in the crisis cabinet agreed that removing the coach, whom they already consider amortized, would have been a measure with short-term effects if they had not outlined a weight successor before. There were those who judged that expelling Solari would induce the partners to think of a disoriented directive.
In the deck of potential substitutes of Solari, technicians linked historically to Madrid who were willing to take office until June were targeted. Only the first team would give a figure of this type until the end of the season, but if things still do not work the three months that remain to the League could be excessively long. "If Solari is already burned, rather than burning someone else, the best thing is for Solari to continue," explained an employee from Valdebebas. The basic objective is to keep the team in Champions positions. The position of the Argentine would be in jeopardy if the bad results happen, a circumstance that is not ruled out given the declining game and lousy atmosphere in the dressing room.
Resolved the most immediate, the conclave tried the possibility of hiring Mourinho. A senior manager of the club says that the corporate CEO, José Ángel Sánchez, was in favor of signing the Portuguese as soon as possible, either to take over the team immediately or from June 1. Sanchez understands that the coach, who would return with the endorsement of the support of a significant part of the fans, is the only person available capable of managing the social and sports crisis with a statesman's pulse. The political factor weighs. But the technicians who advise the club warn of the danger of signing a coach of obsolete sports ideas, as it does not guarantee the essential: that the team works.
Now Mourinho is proclive to negotiate. People from the environment of Jorge Mendes, his agent, warn that for the first time since October, when Madrid began the contacts to seduce him, his client evaluates accepting a challenge that previously intimidated him. The one who has doubts this time is Florentino Pérez. Today, the president continues to consider him the best option, but believes it is convenient to wait for the development of the season to offer more attractive alternatives. The performances of Allegri and Pochettino in the Champions League could present them as candidates closer to an idea of success than Mourinho, who comes from being fired from United and Chelsea after completing cycles plagued by conflicts and few titles.
Florentino Pérez appreciates the message that the presentations entail. The timming determines all good sales and in that game the partners are equivalent to consumers. Mourinho was greedy for the image consultants while he had a contract in force with United. Now he has the technical baldness in the unemployment and his history is susceptible of suspicions: with him in the bench the Madrid lost three Champions of three, and without him he won four of five. With him on the bench the United approached the decline in the Premier and without it has blossomed to get into the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
To the rhythm of Florentino
Between October and December, Florentino Pérez tried to convince Mourinho through third parties to leave United for Madrid. The propaganda calculated to present the move as the return of the leader who left England to get the best team in the world out of the crisis. Up to 20 million net per season came to offer. But Mourinho was long. First, because if he renounced the friendly United, he would be left without receiving the 24 million euros in settlement of the dismissal; second, because Mendes worked to place him at the end of the season at PSG, the least problematic club and his first professional goal; and third because it demands guarantees of power and popular support and knows that public opinion in Spain is difficult to control.
In the absence of Al-Khelaifi and the Qatari royal family deciding what to do in the face of the unexpected elimination of PSG from the Champions League, the past few weeks had restored stability to the richest club in France. The 0-2 achieved by PSG against United in the first leg of the last round on 12 February dissipated the doubts that were clouding the future of coach Thomas Tuchel, while he turned Mourinho's gaze to Madrid. Too late, they observe in Chamartín. Florentino Pérez does not like being dictated by negotiating rhythms from the outside. If Mourinho said he would think about it when they made the last offer, after the 3-0 in Eibar, on November 24, now who wants to think better is the president. Since United dismissed him on December 18, Mou's power of attraction has waned.