Chelsea FC: 10 Possible Consequences of Finishing Outside the Top Four
With Chelsea struggling to find their form this season, and there suddenly being a very real possibility of the Blues falling outside the Champions League positions, the club need to get organised quickly if they want to change this season around.
With more news surfacing recently about Ashley Cole getting into trouble on the training ground, there is a worry that Carlo Ancelotti has lost control at the club despite his best efforts to claim otherwise.
Here are 10 of the possible consequences of Chelsea finishing outside the top four this season.
Carlo Ancelotti Sacked
If the club fail to make it into the Champions League next season, there will not be much doubt about who will be held responsible for the failure.
Ancelotti is already one of the favourites to be the next Premier League manager to get sacked, and if the club do end the season outside the top four, then there will be no doubt that the odds will rapidly shorten.
A departure from the club this summer would also give Abramovich more time to search for a suitable replacement, as opposed to if Ancelotti had been sacked this summer.
Didier Drogba Sold
Rumours are, again, already circulating about this.
Drogba could well be on his way out of Chelsea as a way to make some of the money back from the significant £50 million signing of Fernando Torres in January.
It was initially thought that Drogba and Torres could partner as a deadly striking force, but after a drop in form, Fernando Torres has instead been partnered with Nicolas Anelka.
Drogba has been off form since his bout with malaria a number of months ago. Regardless, there can be no doubt that some of the less experienced Champions League teams would gladly take him onto their team.
A surprise return to Marseille could be in the cards.
Roman Abramovich Leaves
Admittedly, this is one of the least likely consequences, but there are no guarantees Abramovich won't call it quits at the end of the season.
Having forked over more than £70 million in the January transfer window though, it seems that the Russian billionaire may be prepared to make one last big investment in the hope that the club can turn things around.
This would suggest that he may stay on beyond the end of this season, but what if they failed to qualify for the Champions League next year, as well?
Then Abramovich would be looking very likely to take his business elsewhere.
Big Four Becomes Big Five
Following the exit of Liverpool from the big four, Tottenham snuck in last season, fighting it out with Manchester City.
Chelsea have since dropped off form and are also competing in the table, very close to Tottenham and Manchester City.
This could mark a change to a "big five" from what was originally the "big four."
While the top five clubs are almost all but guaranteed top five places already, it is still yet to be decided where each club looks likely to finish with a number of important clashes still coming up.
Manchester United Begin a New Reign of Dominance
Without the challenge of Chelsea, and with Arsenal still seemingly missing some sort of finishing touch to win a trophy, Manchester United could be about to embark on another run of Premier League dominance.
If the Red Devils do win the Premier League title this year, and Chelsea do finish outside the top four, then it seems likely that United could be the biggest team for years to come.
Manchester City may eventually prove to be a challenge, but will need time to gel together more than they have already, while Arsenal will also need to cut out the mistakes in their game that cost them the Carling Cup on Sunday.
Arsenal Complete a New "Big Two"
Despite their loss in the Carling Cup, it looks as though Arsenal could be growing enough as a team to create a dominant duo in the Premier League.
It may not be as extreme as Rangers and Celtic in Scotland or Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain, but the pair will no doubt still be the two strongest teams in the Premier League for a while.
The only thing that may stop this is Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea all seemingly preparing for further investment in new players this summer. Although teams need time to gel together, these three clubs will have to be on top of their games to topple Manchester United or Arsenal from the top of the table.
Transfer Exodus from the Club
Every club must have nightmares about a transfer exodus, but luckily, for most teams, it will only happen if something goes really wrong.
Sadly for Chelsea, something is going really wrong at their club and a transfer exodus could be around the corner.
It is a bit of a long shot in comparison to some of the other things on this list, but it could still happen. If Didier Drogba does leave, and there are some huge offers coming in for other players, then Chelsea may begin to suffer.
This could also, though, prove to be the catalyst for the further development of players like Gael Kakuta, Josh McEachran and Daniel Sturridge.
Jose Mourinho Joins the Club
If the club are to fall outside the top four this season, then there's a very realistic possibility that Carlo Ancelotti could be sacked, as previously mentioned. There's also a strong chance that Jose Mourinho could be in line to leave Real Madrid this summer after a falling-out with the club President.
This could line up nicely for a surprise return to Chelsea for Jose Mourinho.
After all, he was once quoted as saying "The time I spent here was the best time of my career so far—and that's despite winning the Champions League in Portugal and Italy."
"The atmosphere, the intensity and the emotion in England is something you cannot compare with other countries, and for somebody who is really in love with the game, as I am, this is the place where you enjoy it the most."
Chelsea Fly Under the Radar Next Season
While no club will truly underestimate Chelsea next season, regardless of finishing position, they may believe that the Blues are a weaker team than before.
This would also be a fatal mistake to make, as the club could go on to regain a strong position in the big four again next year.
If they fall outside of Champions League qualification once, then the club will not have any sort of title or European position to lose anymore. That means that the pressure will be off more than this season and the team will have the whole summer to deal with their disappointment.
They can then head into 2011-2012 stronger and refreshed.
Chelsea Win Their First European Title Since 1998
Chelsea haven't won a European competition since the UEFA Super Cup in 1998. If they fall outside the top four this season, then next season will be one of their best chances to win a European competition since reaching the 2008 Champions League Final.
The Europa League is the weaker of the two competitions, and while it is still a tough tournament that has earned a fair amount of respect, Chelsea would easily have the ability to go into the tournament confident and as favourites.
Winning the tournament could also give them the confidence to put in an improved showing in the Premier League as well as another chance to give some of the club's younger players European experience.