Chelsea drop cryptic sparks Jose Mourinho return frenzy

Chelsea drop cryptic sparks Jose Mourinho return frenzy

Chelsea and former main club sponsors Three have teased another upcoming partnership. The Blues promoted the mobile network giants for three years between 2020 and the summer of 2023 before the original deal came to an end.

Three’s move not to extend their partnership with the club coincided with Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital failing to secure another front-of-shirt sponsorship until after the current Premier League season has begun. The partnership became strained during 2022 when Three signalled their intentions not to be promoted alongside the club following UK government-imposed sanctions on Roman Abramovich amid alleged links to Vladimir Putin after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Chelsea went on to announce Infinite Athlete as their front-of-shirt sponsor for the 2023/24 season but have been actively working on securing a new long-term deal. Oman Air and Riyadh Air have been reported as possible alternatives with Infinite Athlete set to become the sleeve sponsors for the next campaign.

Now, in the build-up for Chelsea’s crunch clash with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, the club have hinted at a potential reunion with the brand. In a video posted just hours after Mauricio Pochettino’s pre-match press conference, Chelsea wrote, “Time to talk..” with the addition of, “10am | 04/04/2024”.

The video shows a person in black trousers and smart black shoes walking down the tunnel at Stamford Bridge before cutting to Cole Palmer’s face in the changing room. It ends with Three’s logo alongside the Chelsea badge with #TalkMoreThanFootball written below.

Although Three are not the club’s front-of-shirt sponsor, there is an existing agreement between the organisations as the official telecommunications partner. Three regularly offer discounted tickets for women’s team games at Stamford Bridge as well as prize draws for matchday experiences with the club.

In April 2023, when the previous partnership was still valid, Chelsea and Three announced an event with Samaritans charity to urge people to talk about mental health following research that found “Brits are almost twice as likely to talk about football (55 per cent) than their mental wellbeing (24 per cent).”

During a game with Brighton 12 months ago, the club welcomed legends Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Eidur Gudjohnsen, and Gary Cahill onto the pitch at halftime alongside lifelong fans with Samaritans’ 24-hour free helpline number 116 123 printed on the back of their shirts and stood in solidarity.

It comes ahead of mental health awareness months which runs throughout May. A post from Three on March 31 also hinted at yet another big name being in attendance for the United game. “Guess who’s back for a team talk with a difference…” the company wrote. It has left many to query who exactly will be making a return.

With Jose Mourinho out of work and his clear ties to the club, as well as hope in some quarters that he could take over from Pochettino as head coach in the summer should a departure be forthcoming, many have pitched the Special One to be in attendance.

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