Chelsea doubled the compensation package on offer to Jose Mourinho to €26m (£18m) after he was offered the job of being Tottenham Hotspur's new manager no less than five times on Thursday.
In an extraordinary sequence of events Mourinho agreed to not join any Premier League club within the next 12 months in return for an extra, unexpected, payment of £10m from the Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
However, the persistent efforts of the Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to hire Mourinho – offering to match the £5.2m-a-year he earned at Stamford Bridge, which made him the world's best-remunerated manager – shows just how precarious the future of the present manager Martin Jol is.
Last night the Dutchman was said to be furious after hearing that his job had been offered to Mourinho. Jol is already understood, after Spurs also held talks with the Seville coach Juande Ramos, to have sought legal advice from the League Managers Association as his position has become untenable. It is clear that Spurs are now casting around for a replacement.
Mourinho will return to Portugal today, after his children bade farewell to their class-mates and teachers yesterday, and will look for a job outside England following a holiday, probably in Brazil.
"I think my next step must be another country, must be another experience, another football," Mourinho said last night. "But I am 44, I hope I have many years in front of me. I love English football and I don't change a single word I've said before."
But for the next year he will have to work elsewhere. Mourinho has also signed a standard confidentiality agreement with Chelsea, preventing him from speaking about his sudden departure, and accepted that he will not poach players and staff when he gets another job. The club are most concerned about losing Didier Drogba, who remains extremely upset by the manager's departure.
Mourinho certainly did not expect to receive such a huge pay-off and probably should send Levy a text message of thanks. He had under three years left on his contract, which was due to expire in June 2010, equating to approximately £13m, and although he originally had demanded full payment he knew that he could not expect any more than two-thirds, around £8.5m.
Indeed, on leaving the club on Wednesday night, Mourinho accepted that he would not receive all the money and also told Chelsea executives that he would not fight for it either. At that time his agent Jorge Mendes, who was watching another of his high profile clients – Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo – play in Lisbon, was still in Portugal.
Mendes flew to London on Thursday, and was still there yesterday handling negotiations, but said before he set off that he did not expect any difficulties and that Mourinho was happy with what he was to receive. But following Levy's intervention Chelsea decided that they did not want to risk the embarrassment of Mourinho crossing London to take over at Spurs.
A portion of the compensation package will go to Mourinho's four trusty assistants – Baltemar Brito, Silvinho Louro, Rui Faria and Andre Villas Boas – who all, also, left Chelsea on Thursday. The five arrived at Stamford Bridge from Porto in June 2003, with Mourinho insisting that he would only come if his backroom staff joined him.
Mourinho admitted he was "happy" to leave Chelsea after his three tumultuous but highly successful years.
"Roman, Peter [Kenyon, chief executive], the top people at the club are happy, and I'm happy, too," he said. "I was not sacked and I didn't close the door. If I wanted to close the door I would do it before – at the end of season. So mutual agreement I think is the correct English for what happened."
Yesterday the Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck all but confirmed Mourinho had been prevented from staying in England by the severance agreement with Abramovich. Buck said: "With regards to his contract all I would say is that the specific terms are confidential. There is nothing in his contract that I as a corporate lawyer would view as particularly unusual in the context of an executive of a company moving on." Pressed on what the terms were he added: "The point is that is is a confidential thing between Chelsea Football Club and Jose."Reuse content