With the Serie A title virtually in the bag -- Inter Milan has a 10-point lead with six games to go --
Yes, his critics will point out that Mourinho simply accomplished what his predecessor,
The '08-09 season has been, by contrast, a relative stroll against tough competition. Juventus and Milan both invested considerable sums of money in the summer. Fiorentina and Genoa went to the next level and one of them could yet end up in the Champions League. Roma, for all its problems, came within a missed penalty kick of a place in Europe's Elite Eight.
Mourinho would probably throw in another achievement. "In 30 years' time I will be remembered as the man who left Inter two players like [
The flip side of this is that Inter, once again, came up short in the Champions League, the competition that, after all those recent
Mourinho's wisdom in the transfer market has also been questionable.
And then there's the more subjective, but not unimportant fact that Inter simply is less entertaining than a year ago. This is a brawny, safety-first bunch whose attacking game plan seems to rely exclusively on set-pieces or moments of magic from
So is all this worth Mourinho's estimated wage package of close to $20 million? If this is all there is, definitely not. But if, in these 10 months, Mourinho laid the groundwork for what's to come, then it's a different story. The difficult part is that, most likely, Inter will require another overhaul this summer.
Up front, Ibrahimovic is untouchable (unless he decides to leave, of course, but nobody wants to contemplate that scenario). Balotelli is great, but still a teenager and, by Mourinho's own admission, performs better out wide than as a second striker in a 4-4-2.
Inter's shopping list, therefore, seems fairly cut-and-dried: at least one central defender, a top-drawer attacking midfielder, a winger and a reliable striker. That's quite an overhaul for a team that won the title. But right now, Inter remains a work in progress. And bringing in the right guys to go to the next level is what Mourinho needs to do if his stay at Inter is going to be deemed a success rather than one of the most expensive failures in history.