Roberto Di Matteo may have gotten Chelsea back to their winning ways of old, but he still only holds the title of interim manager. His position at the club will be reviewed at year’s end and odds are he will not retain the head coaching spot.
Since the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas, there has been practically a novel worth of characters that have been rumored to be on the move to Stamford Bridge this offseason. Many are the current managers of some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Others are the young hot prospects on the rise.
The day of Villas-Boas’ sacking I wrote an article titled "Mourinho, Guardiola and 10 Candidates to replace Andre Villas-Boas." This piece looks looks back on that one, updating you on the most recent developments since then and adding to that list.
Mourinho was rumored for a return even before Villas-Boas was officially sacked. The man who brought glory to Chelsea is a favorite amongst the fans as well as the bettors, who have him at 11/4 odds of making a grand return.
However, he has also been rumored to be on a move to England to manage a lighter shade of blue. Manchester City has been reported to be interested in his services. Chelsea fans will take delight in knowing that Mourinho himself denies the allegations that a deal is already in place.
The combination of his ability to win, as well as being a locker room pleaser, would have all parties involved happy with his arrival. Even former Chelsea star Joe Cole has expressed the dire need for the club to bring him back: "If Jose showed the slightest interest in going back to Chelsea they should run out to Spain, pick him up and carry him all the way back to Stamford Bridge."
If Roman Abramovich could swallow his pride just a bit and allow the “Special One” back in, it would likely make the team instant contenders overnight.
Guardiola was another big name being thrown around immediately following Villas-Boas’ dismissal. The Barca manager would bring the kind of style to Chelsea that Abramovich hoped Villas-Boas would, but also the experience necessary to run this size of a club.
Abramovich has already reportedly offered Guardiola everything in the world, literally. Recent rumors surfaced that Guardiola has been asked to “name his price” to come the Stamford Bridge. But the 41-year-old has been resistant, saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Guardiola’s contract with Barca expires at the end of this season and he is yet to sign an extension. Good news for Chelsea fans who are hoping he wants a new challenge in the future.
Should Mourinho and Guardiola be out of reach of Abramovich, French coach Blanc has been rumored to be the next likely candidate.
The Frenchman knows a thing or two about quieting locker room discord and how to handle stubborn veterans. He was the man who had to take over following the disgraceful display by the French team at the 2010 World Cup.
However, Blanc is not only the target of Chelsea. The recent vacancy at Inter Milan has the Italian giants looking to him as well. Abramovich, never the one to be outdone, has reportedly offered Blanc £8 million, which would make him the highest-paid manager in the English game.
A niche favorite among the Chelsea supporters, Jurgen Klopp is the kind of manager that offers supreme upside to his arrival. He plays the kind of fast, energetic game Abramovich craves and has the philosophy of a young up-and-comer.
However, this was the same way Villas-Boas was touted when he made the move.
Nevertheless, Klopp became a popular name hovering around the Bridge. The Daily Mail first reported that Chelsea was indeed interested in Dortmund’s current boss and could look to take him out of Germany in the summer.
Klopp has gone on to vehemently deny the allegations, stating:
I can turn them down straight away. I will not be moving there. But I do think it is cool that I am being named in the same breath as Mourinho and Guardiola. That is enough for me - that is already a personal triumph, but I am not available, sorry.
But in the end, money talks.
He may only be an interim manager, but the revitalization the club has had under Di Matteo has been astounding. A team which once looked incapable of even making Europa League next season is now in the hunt for fourth, battling for the FA Cup and in a strong position to advance to the Champions League semifinals.
If all these possibilities are realized, there is little doubt that he will not be at least considered for the full-time position. He has always been a fan favorite dating back to his playing days and it has been joked that he was the best thing Villas-Boas brought to the club.
But even then the ego of Abramovich always lingers and it has been suggested that perhaps what works most against Di Matteo is the lack of recognition in his name. Roman loves superstars and would have to be persuaded to go with someone of lesser stature.
In the end, though, Di Matteo is going to do what he thinks is best for the team and let the “results do the talking.”
With just under two months left to go in the season, Chelsea will be pushing hard to secure that fourth place in the league. But behind the scenes, management will continue to try and lure in potential managers for the future.
It is never an easy position to work under Roman Abramovich, but it is also difficult to turn down the kind of financial support he is willing to give you.
So who do you think we be the next Chelsea manager?
As always, please leave your comments below and thanks for reading!
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