What do Setubal, Razgrad, and London have in common? At least one thing, as it turns out, and his name is Jose Mourinho.
You may remember a story from several weeks ago, which claimed that Chelsea were about to enter a partnership with Mourinho's home-town club of Vitoria de Setubal. We have had loanees there before -- and they want to keep at least one of them, Uli Davila, for next season as well -- but the partnership was supposed to pave the way for many more to follow. Trouble is, Vitoria have since let go of their head coach, and while the club assured that plans for the partnership have not changed, the rumors sure have died down since, perhaps indicating that, to a large degree, the plans may have hinged on the coach's presence there.
The coach, one-time Leeds United midfielder Bruno Ribeiro, has landed on his feet very quickly and was announced earlier today as the new head coach of Bulgarian back-to-back-to-back-to-back league champions PFC Ludogorets Razgrad. You may remember Ludogorets from last season's Champions League, when they almost eked out draws against Liverpool and Real Madrid in the group stages.
Ribeiro may have just moved clear across Europe, but he's still set on mining Chelsea for some help to help live up to the expectations set in Razgrad by last season's success.
"There's a possibility for some Chelsea players to come to Ludogorets. I'll talk to Mourinho and we'll see if this can happen, we need three or four new players... But he'll help us in any case."
-Bruno Ribeiro; source: Reuters
The two are apparently "good friends" and Ribeiro has completed a couple traineeships with Mourinho, once at Chelsea and again at Real Madrid.
There's no word yet on who all Ribeiro may have in mind, though most of them are likely to be the same names who were linked with the Setubal loans (think Davila, Delac, Wallace, Swift, Baker, McEachran, etc). While the Bulgarian league is probably of lower standard than the Portuguese league, the prospect of European football could sway our decision-making. Ludogorets will enter next season's competition in the 2nd qualifying round, which will be played mid-July.