Chelsea's Future: Roman Abramovich's Blue Revolution in 2012/2013

Will J BakerCorrespondent IIIJune 14, 2012

MUNICH, GERMANY - MAY 19:  Club owner Roman Abramovich (R) lifts the trophy in celebration while  Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (C) applauds after their victory in the UEFA Champions League Final between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea at the Fussball Arena München on May 19, 2012 in Munich, Germany.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The outpouring of extreme emotions from fans and players alike after Didier Drogba netted the winning penalty in the Allianz Arena was in sharp contrast to the cool calculated celebration from Roman Abramovich.

The man whose millions sparked a revolution at Stamford Bridge that brought three league titles, four FA Cups and two League cup triumphs had finally attained his "holy grail" by winning Europe's premier cup competition.

But there was a sense of steely resolution from Abramovich rather than unadulterated joy at the Champions League victory; it was evident that, while delighted at the unexpected achievement, the Russian oligarch never wanted to see his Chelsea side enter a match as rank outsiders again.

The desperate defending, backs-to-the-wall heroics and never-say-die attitude earned Chelsea many admirers over the course of their Champions League run, but Abramovich's ambition for an attacking attractive brand of football that would terrorise Europe's best defences remained a pipe dream.

This can perhaps explain his apathetic attitude towards Interim Manager, Roberto Di Matteo, and the doubts that he still harbours as to whether the Italian club legend is the world-class manager that the club needs to usher in a new generation of talent.

That man was supposed to be Andre Villas-Boas, but the brash Portuguese was over-ambitious and disrespectful in his attempts to displace the "old guard."

AVB's refusal to allow transfer-listed veterans, Alex and Anelka, to train with the first team or even to use the club car park was an affront to their loyal service at Stamford Bridge and contributed to their moves away from the club in January. 

Villas-Boas' decision to start the away leg against Napoli in the Champions League without Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard was the final straw as the players had lost the desire to play for him and the 3-1 defeat contributed to his eventual sacking.

The inexperienced young manager had underestimated the influence and respect that the older players commanded and their continued worth to Chelsea Football Club.

Without the stalwart goal line heroics of Cole, the icy nerve of Frank Lampard in penalty situations and the menacing goal threat posed by Didier Drogba, Chelsea's Champions League run would have come to an abrupt end.

But now with Drogba set to leave the club as a Champions League winner, the overhaul of the squad can begin in earnest. John Terry and Ashley Cole still have first-team roles to play and there is no reason why the super-fit Frank Lampard cannot become Chelsea's answer to Ryan Giggs, a vital squad member, playing well into his thirties.

Elsewhere there is already evidence of a clear out with the release of Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa, two players that epitomised the instability and inconsistency of Chelsea's playing squad. Chelsea are also reportedly happy to listen to offers for Michael Essien and Florent Malouda, two loyal servants who have passed their peak.

But it is the reported influx of exciting new talent that has captivated the imagination of so many Chelsea fans and that really demonstrates Abramovich's vision for the revival of the "Blue Revolution" that first manifested itself back in 2003.

For months leading up the end of the season, there was anticipation of a bidding war over Eden Hazard between the two Manchester giants, City and United. But Abramovich wielded his chequebook and secured a major coup for Chelsea that could not have stated his intentions any clearer.

Comparisons have already been drawn between the young Belgian playmaker and the likes of Messi and Ronaldo and he has been touted as the future of football, a man whose deft skills as a goalscoring playmaker has led to him to being named Ligue 1 Player of the Year for the past two successive seasons.

Hazard is expected to confirm his move to Chelsea, that he first revealed on Twitter, later this week and the thought of him combining with Juan Mata would be a delight for any footballing purist.

But Chelsea's summer spending spree, aimed towards turning the club into a wealth of attacking talent that will leave their rivals trailing in their wake, does not look like it will end with Belgium's brightest spark.

The Blues are said to have agreed a £38 million fee for Porto's multi-talented winger-cum-centre forward, Hulk, whose services have been in demand for years.

Givanildo Vieira de Souza, known as Hulk due to his resemblance to actor, Lou Ferrigno, amassed an extremely impressive 52 goals in 96 appearances in Portugal and he has recently hinted at a move away from Porto with Chelsea his most likely destination.

The additions of Hulk and Hazard to a Chelsea frontline that already includes talented young wingers, Kevin De Bruyne and Marko Marin, signed from Genk and Werder Bremen respectively, are evidence that the Russian owner is determined to dispel the criticisms that his side lack creativity.

But Abramovich's real target this summer is not a player but a manager.

With Di Matteo still in doubt as to his Chelsea future, it suggests that the billionaire is already looking elsewhere for his next Head Coach.

Europe's finest have been linked with the job but the man that Abramovich really wants at the helm at Stamford Bridge if his blueprint for stylish football is to become a reality is Pep Guardiola.

The most successful manager in Barcelona history won 14 titles in four years at the Camp Nou including two Champions League triumphs and developed the "tika-taka" style of football made famous by Barça and the Spanish national team.

But the Catalan legend resigned from his post at the end of the season gone by, citing burn-out and the need for a sabbatical away from football as the key reasons for his departure.

Guardiola has indicated that when he returns to football he will be looking for a new challenge; this declaration has encouraged rumours that he may make his managerial debut in English football with Manchester United and Arsenal potential destinations.

But an Abramovich-led Chelsea are determined to emulate the footballing philosophy of Los Culés and who better to take control of this vision than the man who so successfully implemented it at his hometown club?

The financial clout of Abramovich would be enough to influence the career decisions of most people but if Guardiola holds firm in his desires to take at least a year off then this could play into Di Matteo's hands as his stewardship of the club could be extended until the Spaniard is ready to take the job.

It is widely believed however that the miracle-worker who won the FA Cup and the Champions League in his spell as caretaker manager would not be willing to accept these terms without a guarantee that he would be allowed to keep the job permanently if he met certain targets.

Whatever the final outcome of Abramovich's intended summer pursuit of Guardiola, the players that he has already been linked with suggests that an exciting time is ahead for the football club, whomever the manager may be.


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