5 Potential Replacements for Rafa Benitez at Chelsea

Tom Lane@@tommo_laneContributor IIIFebruary 28, 2013

5 Potential Replacements for Rafa Benitez at Chelsea

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    Chelsea 'Interim Manager' Rafa Benitez has come out in the press this week and announced he will be leaving the club at the end of the season following a turbulent (to say the least) period in charge of the South London club. 

    Chelsea have seen a vast array of managerial talent grace their dug-out from World Cup winners to club legends, and none have done enough for owner Roman Abramovich to keep in the job. 

    Claudio Ranieri managed Chelsea's highest finish for years and broke records for their defensive ability, whilst also reaching the Champions League semi-finals, but that season he was sacked.

    Jose Mourinho came in and won an unprecedented (with Chelsea) two Premier Leagues, two league cups, an FA Cup and the Community Shield, but differences with the chairman led to his departure.

    Avram Grant then took over the elusive reins and led Chelsea to League Cup and Champions League Final defeats...their first EVER Champions League final, but he didn't last.

    World Cup winner Phil Scolari became the manager in July 2008 and after a string of poor results was given the boot in February 2009.

    Guus Hiddink would finish that season as manager leading Chelsea to the FA Cup, but due to his international commitments, he couldn't take over full time.

    Carlo Ancelotti, who had won everything there was to win with AC Milan in Italy, took over and led the club to a Premier League and FA Cup double, but one year later, with no major trophies and his assist sacked from above him, joined the managerial casualty list.

    Chelsea turned to young former Mourinho apprentice Andre Villas-Boas who had won the treble (Europa League, Portuguese Cup and League) with Porto, but his tenure lasted only months. 

    Roberto Di Matteo took over the team as a club legend and AVB's assistant, leading Chelsea to surprising FA Cup and Champions League glory, but months later he was sacked.

    Rafa was put in 'interim' control but now appears to be on the way out...so who could come in?

Honorable Mentions

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    There are a few managers who Chelsea would probably want to appoint but can't or could do a job for the club but won't, so here goes:


    Arsene Wenger

    The current manager of Arsenal and arguably their greatest manager of all time. Wenger has been at Arsenal for some of the greatest moments in Premier League history and his philosophy of playing attractive football may attract the attention of Roman. Add in unlimited funds and this could be a recipe for success.

    Despite coming under scrutiny from the media and fans, Wenger must be considered one of the Premier League's best ever coaches. He has achieved one thing Abramovich has not: a season unbeaten.


    Alex Ferguson

    This would be the most shocking moment in Premier League history. Alex Ferguson has been at Manchester United for almost three decades, creating one of the biggest teams football has ever seen. While Mr. Abramovich would no doubt want Fergie at the helm, it is simply not a viable option, He will never leave United now, especially not to a Premier League rival.


    Sven Goran-Eriksson

    OK, so this wouldn't be a dream match, but at one point in time, Sven was going to be the new Chelsea manager. Abramovich supposedly held talks with the Swede whilst Ranieri was in charge and he was still England boss. Sadly now, Sven's managerial reputation is in ruins and I doubt very highly Chelsea will be giving him a call.

Jurgen Klopp

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    Jurgen Klopp is the current manager of German champions (though not for much longer) Borussia Dortmund. He led them to back-to-back German titles as well as a German cup victory, creating a great rivalry with Bayern Munich.

    Chelsea may see Klopp as a viable option, not just for the success he has had in the up-and-coming German Bundesliga, but the style in which his Dortmund team have gone about it.

    Free-flowing, attacking and successful, Abramovich is well-documented for being a fan of the Barcelona style of success, and Klopp is doing something similar.

    This could therefore be a perfect match. Roman has yet to appoint a German coach, and Klopp could be that man. 

    Dortmund are on a bit of a downer, losing to Bayern in the German Cup and being far behind in the Bundesliga, so now could be the perfect time to jump ship.

Guus Hiddink

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    Guus Hiddink, as previously stated, had a largely successful period at Chelsea, leading them through turmoil to win the FA Cup.

    Hiddink, though, is currently in charge of Russian money-bags Anzhi Makhachkala, who are having some success.

    Hiddink has also indicated he will retire from football management at the end of the season. 

    However, perhaps the lure of the Premier League and his friendship with Chelsea's mega-rich owner could persuade this legendary manager to give it one last go and perhaps add the Premier League title to his large list of honours.  

David Moyes

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    One of the most respected managers in all of English football. Taking Everton to new heights on a low budget, from fourth-place finishes to FA Cup finals, Moyes has done an impressive job.

    Chelsea have often looked abroad for their latest manager, but with Moyes' contract at Everton up in the air and the sense that perhaps he is frustrated having taken the team as far as he can, perhaps now is his chance at a top job. 

    Many see Moyes as the potential replacement for Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, but Chelsea could nip in and take him before they get the chance. 

    Perhaps his lack of Champions League experience could mean Roman will overlook him, but experience hasn't worked in the past. 

    Moyes has had success on a budget; perhaps with unlimited money, he can have even more success...there is only one way to find out...

Antonio Conte

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    Antonio Conte has led Juventus back into the Champions League with an unbeaten season and Serie A win. 

    Roman Abramovich may remember him from the 3-0 thrashing of Chelsea in the Champions League earlier this season.

    British Newspaper The Daily Express reported that Conte would welcome a move to Chelsea and with the money they would be paying him, why not?

    Conte has turned Juventus into the force they once were with a fluid counter-attacking style and the use of experienced players (like Pirlo, Vucinic and Chellini) and giving them new leases on life (Frank Lampard may appreciate this).

    Conte could be an excellent selection for the club, as they have begun to leak goals at the back and Conte could counter this. 

Jose Mourinho

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    The Special One. One of the greatest managers of this generation and all time. Two Champions League medals, two Premier Leagues, an Italian treble, a Portuguese treble, La Liga, the Copa Del Rey and so on.

    One of Chelsea's greatest ever managers and perhaps the most charismatic man in football at the moment. 

    Mourinho is often surrounded by controversy, but as stated, the man gets results wherever he goes. 

    Many Chelsea fans believe that he is the man they need to return to the very top, battling for everything and taking on anyone.

    Mourinho appears to be on his way out of Real Madrid following their collapse in the league this season, and only Chelsea and Manchester City seem to be viable options.

    Mourinho has said his next destination will be England; could it be back at Stamford Bridge?