Fabio Capello is being touted as a potential successor to the under-pressure Rafael Benitez at Internazionale – a move which could yet give the Football Association an escape from its awkward partnership with the Italian coach.
Although the scenario of Benitez being fired and Capello taking his place is a long way from happening, reports in Italy have suggested that Internazionale would be obliged to pay the FA up to £6m in compensation to get him out of his contract. Benitez's team lost 2-1 to Chievo on Sunday and are nine points behind leaders Milan in Serie A.
Benitez's side face FC Twente in the Champions League tomorrow trailing Tottenham, the group leaders. Yesterday the Inter president, Massimo Moratti, underlined the importance of the game. Asked whether he would keep faith in Benitez no matter what the result, Moratti said: "Yes, but we must try to get a good result, because it is rather important. The coach and the squad must understand that [the Twente] game is very important. Tired or otherwise, the game absolutely needs to be played with anger because otherwise we won't go anywhere."
Capello was Moratti's first choice to succeed Mourinho in the summer but was kept by the FA, which removed a break clause in his contract before the World Cup finals.
Tottenham's hopes of finishing top of their Champions League group have been bolstered by the turmoil at Inter. They can guarantee progress into the last 16 with a win at home against Werder Bremen, and should Inter drop points in their Milan meeting with Twente then the winning of Group A will be in Spurs' hands.
Tottenham's manager, Harry Redknapp, recognises the importance of a good result tomorrow night. "That group is still wide open. We need results; we need a result on Wednesday," Redknapp said. "You don't want to be going into the last game away to Twente needing to win the game to get through the group. We need to put it to bed if we can on Wednesday at home."
Manchester United can ensure progress from the group stage simply by avoiding defeat against Rangers at Ibrox, and can win the group if Bursaspor take points from Valencia in Spain.