Inter eye-up Mourinho as the Special One seeks an Italian job

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho's return to management appeared to move a step closer last night after it was reported that the former Chelsea manager had travelled to Italy to begin talks with Internazionale.

"Jose has left for Milan for talks with Inter's directors," Mourinho's personal adviser, Eladio Parames, said.

The 44-year-old Portuguese has been linked with a host of European clubs since his shock departure from Chelsea in September last year.

Parames claimed it was Inter who made the initial contact, weeks after current coach Roberto Mancini said he was going to step down – in the aftermath of their Champions League defeat by Liverpool – only to change his mind 24 hours later.

Parames added: "Of course, it was Inter who contacted Mourinho and his agent, not Mourinho contacting them. He [Mourinho] always showed interest in working in Italy, and he received the contact with pleasure."

On Thursday, Inter's owner, Massimo Moratti, had played down speculation he was lining up a replacement for Mancini. "There is all this stuff to deny but I no longer have the patience to do it," he said. Nevertheless an Inter spokesman did not deny yesterday's reports but said Moratti was not in Milan and reiterated the owner's comments about being fed up of denying rumours.

Mourinho's impressive record makes him a coveted coach throughout Europe. With Chelsea he won two Premier League titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup to add to the Champions League triumph with Porto.

The Portuguese, who has previously expressed a desire to work in Italy or Spain, was in Milan with his agent Jorge Mendes yesterday. "It is true they are in Italy and will return to Lisbon [today]," said Parames.

Inter remain top of Serie A, but the gap has narrowed to just four points after they lost 2-1 at home to Juventus last weekend while second-placed AS Roma, Manchester United's Champions League opponents on Tuesday, beat Empoli 2-1.

Mancini, who has four years left on his contract, shocked the club by announcing he wanted to quit following the Champions League last-16 defeat by Liverpool. But after his change of heart the 43-year-old, in charge since 2004, had looked set to stay on following talks with Moratti.