Intense talks between owner Roman Abramovich and senior Stamford Bridge officials — including directors Bruce Buck, Marina Granovskaia, Eugene Tenenbaum and Michael Emenalo — continued for most of yesterday, with the board having already spent nine hours on Tuesday discussing the Portuguese’s fate.
Sources state that the Chelsea hierarchy are going through everything in fine detail, from the performance of the team to the cost of Mourinho’s pay-off and potential replacements.
One big reason that the 52-year-old has not yet been replaced is because there have been few available suitable candidates.
That is still said to be a primary factor keeping Mourinho in a job, although Italy manager Antonio Conte has emerged as an option, and Abramovich has also been keen to change the club approach and show patience.
Continuing poor results have pushed that stance to the limit, however, and there is now serious concern over the fact that Mourinho has tried everything with the squad but the situation has stayed the same: A seemingly endless cycle of slight upturns in form followed by bad defeats and a return crisis.
Senior Chelsea sources have said that, contrary to early reports on Tuesday, yesterday’s talks were not because of an “emergency meeting” called by Abramovich but that they did plan to discuss the situation.
Mourinho himself took training as usual yesterday morning at Cobham, but it is his day-to-day work with the players that has raised the most questions.
Some close to the club believe that the situation between the manager and the squad is at this point “unfixable”.
Some players are now fully against him, while others have just stopped listening to his message.
One source cited how that illustrates the lack of leadership in the dressing room, and how there are “not enough strong Didier Drogba or Javier Zanetti-style characters”, who Mourinho found such success with in the past.
It says much that many of the players were said to be “not bothered” by the manager’s accusations of “betrayal” after the 2-1 defeat to Leicester City on Monday.
At the same time, there is a minority of the squad still loyal to Mourinho, and one privately told his representatives that his boss’s post-game comments were correct.
The crux for Chelsea could be that, in order for Mourinho to have any chance of fixing this, the club may have to undergo a team overhaul that is unrealistic in January and could potentially bleed into next season too.
As such, they may be forced into another expensive pay-off to a manager who only recently signed a new four-year contract on an estimated salary of £12m.
It seems unlikely that Chelsea will pay up that deal in full in the event of a sacking, however, as the club’s traditional policy has been to continue to pay dismissed coaches until they are appointed elsewhere.
That, for example, was the case with Andre Villas-Boas in 2012 before he went to Tottenham Hotspur.