Every transfer window is remembered for one particular saga, be it a will-he-or-won't-he leave situation or numerous clubs locked in a bidding war for a particular player. However, it's looking increasingly likely that this summer's window could play host to an altogether different transfer chronicle, focusing on a manager rather than a player.
Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has endured a torrid season by his impeccably high standards, seeing his side spend the majority of the season over ten points adrift from their great rivals Barcelona, and having extremely public comings together with mainstays Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos. With it looking increasingly certain that this season will be Mourinho's last at the Bernabéu, the speculation is already rife as to where he'll be starting next season.
Europe's newest megapower have made several marquee signings since their takeover in 2011, with manager Carlo Ancelotti being one of them. Ancelotti survived the ignominy of losing the title to relative minnows Montpellier last season and looks to be leading the club to its first title in nearly twenty years, but despite the faith shown by the club's owners and his enviable pedigree, the chance of acquiring one of the most enigmatic figures in the game would be highly attractive to the Qatari executives.
Another potential managerial departure this summer is Roberto Mancini, having almost certainly failed to secure back-to-back league titles for Manchester City. Mourinho has mentioned numerous times that he would like to manage in England again, and City's superb squad and unrivalled spending power would certainly be attractive. It would also be fascinating to see how he would deal with the continuing conundrum of Carlos Tévez.
Along with David Moyes, Mourinho's name is the one most frequently linked with Manchester United when talk turns to a successor for the inimitable Sir Alex Ferguson, but with Ferguson quashing rumours of his retirement as recently as last month, it seems unlikely that this will be the year that his era draws to a close and the Mourinho dynasty begins.
Just as he has made no secret of his desire to return to England, Mourinho has made it clear that his love affair with his former club makes them his preference should he return to these shores.
His stormy relationship with owner Roman Abramovich appears to have been mended, his family is based in London, and with interim boss Rafa Benitez definitely leaving at the end of the season, it appears as though the planets are aligning for the return of Chelsea's prodigal son.
An outside bet, admittedly, but a look at Mourinho's career reveals he is nothing if not nomadic; despite his enormous success at each of his major clubs, he's never stayed anywhere longer than three seasons, and is consistently striving to test and prove himself in new surroundings.
Whilst the Turkish league is not considered amongst Europe's elite leagues, Galatasaray's strong showing in this season's Champions League has demonstrated it's at least competitive, and with his sour relationship with the Spanish press being a contributory factor in his potential departure, he may relish the chance to step out of the spotlight for a season or two.
Add in the fact that the two most influential players from his two most successful regimes, Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba, who played under the Special One at Inter and Chelsea respectively, were recently added to Gala's books, and stranger things have happened.Suggest a correction