Fabio Capello will be in Abu Dhabi next week for the Fifa Club World Cup, which will do nothing to dispel suggestions that he is being lined up to replace Rafael Benitez as the coach of Internazionale, who are there as the European champions.
Capello is now regarded as the next man in line if Benitez, whose team are fifth in Serie A, start to falter further – especially at a tournament that has become more than just a mid-season friendly for the winners of the Champions League. Defeat to Werder Bremen this week compounded Benitez's troubles and having finished second in their Champions League group to Tottenham Hotspur they face the prospect of a difficult second-round draw.
Benitez's team will play on Wednesday against either Al-Wahda United from the United Araba Emirates or Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma of South Korea. His biggest challenge will come from the South American champions, Internacional of Brazil.
Capello has been close to getting the Inter job in the past, before he was England manager. He has been approached by the Italian club's president Massimo Moratti only to be overlooked. Should he be offered the job it would put pressure on his relationship with the Football Association.
Providing he stays in the job it looks like Capello's next game will be against Denmark in Copenhagen on 9 February. Proposed friendlies against Argentina and Uruguay have fallen through and the best option left to the FA is a friendly against Denmark. That game will act as preparation for their next Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales on 26 March.
There were reports yesterday that England would be facing the Republic of Ireland in Dublin next year but they were denied by the FA
Capello's side will have a spare date to fill if, as expected, the proposed friendly with Thailand on 8 June is scrapped and it was suggested that England would be making their first visit to Dublin since the ill-fated encounter in 1995 that was abandoned due to crowd trouble after just 27 minutes.
It is also believed England will play a friendly following the Wales game. There has been no confirmation of a fixture by the FA but Ghana have previously stated they will play England in March, which if correct, would be on the 29th, the second date of the international double-header.