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Chelsea Football Club: 10 Potential Managers to Take over in the Summer

Will J BakerCorrespondent IIIMarch 10, 2012

Chelsea Football Club: 10 Potential Managers to Take over in the Summer

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    No job in football embodies the phrase "poisoned chalice" more than the Chelsea hot seat which has seen eight occupants since 2003.

    The trigger-happy Russian billionaire owner, Roman Abramovich, has shown considerable impatience with his managers hardly giving them any time to establish themselves.

    Andre Villas-Boas' spell in charge at Stamford Bridge was littered with bad results and poor performances but no manager should have to be constantly looking over their shoulder for the dreaded sacking.

    AVB showed inexperience in the way he handled delicate issues but he did take steps towards moving the club in the right direction with his phasing out of the older players and his willingness to employ youth.

    Roberto Di Matteo has been appointed as caretaker manager until the end of the season but it seems likely that Abramovich will want a more experienced figure in charge of the club and Di Matteo lacks pedigree at the highest level.

    Whoever takes charge in the summer has an extensive job on their hands if they want to rebuild Chelsea into a side capable of challenging for honours on the domestic and continental scene.

    Here are 10 potential candidates to take charge at SW6 in the summer.

1. Roberto Di Matteo

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    There is an outside chance that Roberto Di Matteo will be given the job on a permanent basis if he is able to produce results from now until the end of the season.

    The Chelsea legend has made the perfect start in his opening two matches, dispatching Birmingham and Stoke 2-0 and 1-0, respectively, and will now look to the massive Champions League tie with Napoli.

    Many feel that Di Matteo was harshly treated at West Bromwich Albion, who he led to promotion in 2009-10, before being sacked rather prematurely in the eyes of many Baggies fans the following campaign.

    Di Matteo's one weakness was his style of all-out attack and gung-ho football which meant that his side struggled, and he was eventually replaced by Roy Hodgson.

    His attacking style would be better suited to a club where there are players capable of scoring week in week out such as Chelsea.

    For now Di Matteo's main priority has to be to guarantee the club a top four finish and Champions League football for next season and then the Chelsea board can consider whether he is experienced enough to lead them into the future. 

    Likelihood of Appointment: 6/10

2. Jose Mourinho

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    Jose Mourinho is, quite simply, the most successful manager in Chelsea history winning five trophies in three years including the club's first league title in 50 years.

    Mourinho dropped many hints during his first season at Real Madrid that he wanted a job in the Premier League calling England his "natural home."

    He has been linked with the Tottenham and Manchester City jobs, but as the Chelsea position has become available, there is a possibility that Mourinho and Abramovich might put their differences behind them and start to rebuild the dynasty.

    It is accepted that Mourinho will leave Madrid at the end of the season and if his side are able to hold on to their comfortable lead over Barcelona then the "Special One" will have accomplished everything he wanted in Spain.

    He will be able to boast the rare accolade of winning the domestic league title in Spain, Italy and England and he will have achieved the personal and professional satisfaction of relinquishing Barcelona's grip on Spanish football.

    If Abramovich and Mourinho, two big personalities, can come to an agreement that grants Jose full control over transfer policy then a deal might be reached and Chelsea fans would no doubt welcome the second coming of the modern-day Brian Clough.

    Likelihood of Appointment: 8/10

3. Pep Guardiola

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    Reports have surfaced that Josep Guardiola is looking for a new challenge in football after he became the conqueror of Europe not once but twice with Barcelona.

    The Catalonian has become a vital working part in the development of one of the greatest club sides of all time and led his boyhood team to the treble in his first season.

    But it is unclear as to whether he will stay on at Barça for much longer and his future may lie in England.

    Although he has ruled himself out of the Chelsea job, nothing is concrete in football and Abramovich's wealth would be a lure for any top manager.

    However, if Guardiola is to make the transition from La Liga to the Premier League, it is more likely to be with either Manchester United or Arsenal.

    Likelihood of Appointment: 5/10

4. Marcelo Bielsa

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    An experienced and astute football coach who has enjoyed success with both the Argentinean and the Chilean national team, Marcelo Bielsa is currently basking in praise after masterminding victory for Athletic Bilbao against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

    He had previously been linked with the Chelsea job and the emphatic victory over the Red Devils will have done nothing to hurt his chances.

    Bielsa is known as an innovator whose attention to detail is legendary and the Chelsea job could give the Argentine the chance to really shine in club management.

    After the AVB debacle, Abramovich is unlikely to opt for a younger manager again and Bielsa has a wealth of experience that dates back to coaching Newell's Old Boys' youth sides in the 1980s.

    If Bielsa could get Chelsea to play like his Bilbao side did on Thursday then he would be well worth an investment.

    Likelihood of Appointment: 8/10

5. Rafael Benitez

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    Benitez's decision to continue to live in England even after he lost his job at Liverpool attracted many rumors that he was looking for a Premier League job.

    Rafa has already declared his interest in the position and his record speaks for itself. Roman Abramovich is getting impatient with the club's failure to win the Champions League and Benitez led a struggling Liverpool side to two Finals including their epic victory over AC Milan.

    He has a close working relationship with Torres, and there are few men who know more about getting the best out of the Premier League's most expensive player.

    Benitez would have the tactical know-how to utilize Torres' strengths and has vital Premier League experience.

    However, Rafa's footballing philosophy is opposed to the football played by previous Chelsea managers, and he may not be a popular choice with fans who remember Luis Garcia's "goal that never was."

    He has rejected a shorter-term contract offer but if the job was offered to him on a more permanent basis, then Benitez would surely jump at the chance to work with the likes of Mata and Torres.

    Likelihood: 7/10

6. Didier Deschamps

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    After Roman Abramovich sacked Claudio Ranieri in the summer of 2004, he had two candidates in mind as to who he believed could bring silverware as Chelsea manager.

    Jose Mourinho was eventually given the job but Didier Deschamps, whose Monaco side had knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League at the semifinal stage, was seriously considered.

    Deschamps, like Mourinho, was earning himself a growing reputation within the game and he had been a member of the FA Cup winning Chelsea side of 2000 under Gianluca Vialli.

    Since he led Monaco to the Champions League Final in 2004, his managerial star has continued to rise.

    The man dubbed the "water-carrier" in his playing days by Eric Cantona was the man chosen to lead Juventus back from the dead after the match-fixing scandal of 2006.

    Deschamps was able to win promotion back to Serie A at the first attempt as well as winning the Birra Moretti Cup before resigning after a disagreement with senior management.

    Deschamps returned to his native France to manage Marseilles to their first Ligue 1 title in 18 years at the first attempt and he is expected to one day take charge of the French national team.

    His contract with Marseilles comes to an end in the summer and the French club seem to have resigned themselves to the fact that Deschamps is leaving.

    He could be just in time for the job of a lifetime that he was nearly offered back in 2003.

    Deschamps' quiet authority and natural leadership skills, as well as his playing pedigree with the French national team, would quickly earn the respect of a Chelsea squad known for its big personalities.

    Likelihood of Appointment: 8/10

7. Harry Redknapp

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    Harry Redknapp's name was circulating on the Chelsea rumour mill despite the Tottenham boss ruling himself out of a move to West London.

    Redknapp is known for his shrewd dealings in the transfer market and his ability to build a winning team with limited resources.

    The Chelsea side needs a major reshuffling of the deck and the resources at Stamford Bridge are far from limited.

    It seems likely however that the former Portsmouth manager will take the England job in the summer and he also has unfinished business at Tottenham.

    If Chelsea were to appoint an English manager though, Redknapp would appear to be the most qualified candidate.

    Likelihood of Appointment: 5/10

8. David Moyes

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    David Moyes is only prevented from earning the distinction of longest-serving manager in the Premier League by Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

    He has received the highest praise from his countryman from Old Trafford: 

    "David has had to contend with not having a strong financial structure. He has to get the best out of the players he has had available and has done an amazing job"

    Moyes' staying power at a club where financial resources have often been hard to come by speaks volume about his managerial capabilities.

    His proudest moment came in 2004-05 when he led the perennial mid-table side to a fourth-place finish that should have resulted in Champions League football but the Merseysiders were unsuccessful in qualification the following season.

    Moyes has built up an incredibly talented team with limited resources and he has turned the likes of Leighton Baines, Jack Rodwell and Phil Jagielka into England internationals.

    With the money and ambition of Roman Abramovich behind him, Moyes could prove to be a formidable force and his man-management skills should earn him the respect of the players.

    However, Moyes has always relied on the patience of Bill Kenwright and the Everton board and may not be suited to the cut-and-thrust style of Chelsea who tend to judge on short-term results rather than long-term laying of foundations.

    He may be better-suited to the Manchester United job and his known friendship with Ferguson leads many to believe that he would be 'Fergie's' preferred choice to take the reins once the 'Golden Era' comes to an end.

    Likelihood of appointment: 6/10

9. Glenn Hoddle

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    The former Tottenham and England midfield genius has already had a huge part to play in Chelsea history.

    It was his signing of former 'World Player of the Year,' Ruud Gullit, that sparked the continental revolution at Chelsea that led to an influx of foreign players that has never stopped.

    Gianluca Vialli and Gianfranco Zola were two big foreign names to follow the Dutch maestro to Stamford Bridge.

    The job that Hoddle did at Chelsea was good enough to persuade the FA to offer him the England job and his brand of passing football transformed Chelsea from mid-table strugglers into a side that looked capable of challenging for European football, winning and FA Cup silver medal along the way.

    Hoddle also had very innovative ideas surrounding diet and methodology and some of his more infamous policies included hiring a faith healer for the England squad in the build-up to the World Cup in 1998.

    He departed from the national team in a storm of controversy after an underwhelming tournament performance and some inflammatory comments that he made regarding disabled people.

    He has not found consistent success in any job since with forgettable spells at Southampton and his old stomping ground, Tottenham, to add to his CV.

    He has not taken charge of a football club since parting company with Wolves in 2006 and currently resides in the Sky Sports gantry.

    Hoddle has put his name forward for consideration but has conceded it is likely to be given to a foreign candidate since he himself was the last Englishman to take charge at Chelsea back in 1993.

    Likelihood of appointment: 3/10

10. Fabio Capello

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    Even after Fabio Capello's unimpressive performance as England manager at the World Cup in 2010, the Italian manager is still one of the most respected names in world football.

    If anything, Capello's tenure in charge of England has shown that he is better suited to club management as he struggled to adapt to the short time he had available with his squad and the trappings and pitfalls of international tournament management.

    At club level, however, Capello will go down as one of the most successful managers of all time as he has never failed to win a domestic league title with any of the clubs he has managed.

    His 'Invincibles' at AC Milan, a side that included Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi, won four Serie A titles in five years and the Champions League to boot.

    He won La Liga at the first attempt with Real Madrid, guided Roma to their first league title in 18 years and won Serie A twice more with Juventus.

    He has declared his interest in working in English domestic football before and was set to replace Sir Alex Ferguson in 2001 before the Scotsman decided against retirement and signed a new contract.

    Capello's reputation as a disciplinarian would dispel the factional tensions and training room cliques that supposedly exist at Chelsea and he would not stand for the player power that the likes of Terry and Lampard have come to wield at the club since the departure of Mourinho.

    Capello is a winner, in the purest sense of the word and his resignation from the England job as a show of solidarity for former captain, John Terry, may put him in a favourable position with Stamford Bridge senior management.

    However it is more likely that Capello wants to leave behind the machinations of English football politics and take time off from the game to relax in his native Italy.

    Likelihood of appointment: 6/10

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