Slavisa Jokanovic Emerges as Surprise Option to Replace Antonio Conte at Chelsea

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20:  Slavisa Jokanovic, manager of Fulham looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and Burton Albion at Craven Cottage on January 20, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)
Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic has reportedly emerged as a surprise candidate to replace Chelsea boss Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge. 

According to the Daily Mail's Kieran Gill, former Blues player Jokanovic is one of several coaches under consideration by Chelsea having impressed them with his work, thanks to his attacking approach and commanding presence in the dressing room.

The 49-year-old won back-to-back league-and-cup doubles with Partizan Belgrade in 2008 and 2009, as well as the Thai Premier League in 2012.

Jokanovic has never coached in England's top flight, though. He guided Watford to promotion in 2015 but was replaced by Quique Sanchez Flores after failing to agree on a new deal with the club.

The Serb subsequently joined Maccabi Tel Aviv and took them to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2004.

His Fulham side are fourth in the Championship, having gone unbeaten in the division since December 16. No side has racked up more than their 62 goals this season thanks to the effectiveness of their stylish passing football.

BBC Sport's Adam Pope recently praised the manager:

In January, Jokanovic overcame a problem that will be familiar to Conte—who has not been shy in his complaints regarding player recruitment at Stamford Bridge—having battled in order to choose his own players in the transfer window.

The Independent's Jack Pitt-Brooke noted the way he had improved the situation:

Were he to join Chelsea, he may have similar feelings to Conte in regards to recruitment, though given the job would be the biggest opportunity of his managerial career thus far, it may not dissuade him from taking it.

His lack of top-level experience could be something of a concern, but his brand of football is impressive.

Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique is said to be the favourite to take charge after Conte departs, and there are likely other names being considered who have more in their trophy cabinets, but Jokanovic may not be a bad choice either.

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