The sacking of Andre Villas Boas gone, now it is the future Chelsea must look to once more.
Roberto di Matteo is holding the hot seat at Stamford Bridge for now, but who takes over permanently is a question most are purring over. Jose Mourinho is the favourite, whilst Rafa Benitez’s chances look to be diminishing. Pep Guardiola is another. We look at the likely candidates.
Looking for a return to London after his spell with Real Madrid which seems set to end this summer, Mourinho may relish the chance to return to Chelsea. He did not win the Champions League with them and may wish to do that to finish what he started. But then would Abramovich go for someone who he has had trouble with before. Mourinho craves control, so does Abramovich. Mourinho plays dour football – not what Abramovich wants. And perhaps crucially, Mourinho loves the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard, who have caused most of the problems at Chelsea and may be thrown out. For a man who spent so much bringing in a manager to change things at Chelsea, to go back to seven years ago would be a strange step.
Guardiola fits into what Chelsea are trying to do. He plays fast, attacking attractive football. He pays so much attention to detail and that has been what has brought such success to Barcelona during his brief reign there. Leaving Barcelona this summer appears more and more likely with each passing week. But then would he join Chelsea? For a man who complains of the stress of the Barcelona job, imagine then moving to the hot seat of Stamford Bridge. It may be a bridge too far for Guardiola.
Roberto di Matteo
Di Matteo is of course a Chelsea legend and did a good job with West Brom before being fired last season. Much will depend on how well he does this year but there is a good chance that he could take over. Di Matteo would be a cheap option, and Chelsea can’t afford to spend big. Not with financial fair play here. And Abramovich has tried all sorts of managers with track records; perhaps youth is the way forward. With a host of exciting young players at Chelsea, perhaps Di Matteo is the man. After his decision to drop the big egos for his first match, he has shown his mettle. He may be long odds right now, but the Italian is probably more likely than the bookies’ favourites.
Zola has been out of work since leaving West Ham, but he did good things at Upton Park. Forced out after the club was taken over by David Gold and David Sullivan, Zola impressed during a short spell and played good football, the type Abramovich would approve of. And as a player who was one Terry and Lampard looked up to when he was at the club, Zola could command the respect of these players. Another cheaper option, he could be ideal. Abramovich probably knows Chelsea have to change, and the likes of Zola or Di Matteo could be the best options.
Similar to Zola, Poyet is a Chelsea legend and was at the club when Lampard and Terry came through. The Uruguayan is doing great things at Brighton and has them playing some great football. For a team looking to change, he would be up there with Zola and Di Matteo as a good prospect for the Chelsea job. And he is not scarred by being fired, unlike the other two, which could make him an ideal choice to return to Stamford Bridge