Chelsea's Managerial Options
With rumours flying left, right and centre, we come to realise that what may have been called a ‘done-deal’ is actually us and the media making the most out of Mourinho’s recent press conference moments. Most recently, we have come to learn that Alex Ferguson may be in line for a retirement from football management in the near future. This, obviously, has lead people to put two and two together, and all of a sudden we’re looking at Mourinho quitting Madrid for Manchester.
This has definitely taught us not to believe anything till it comes from the horse’s mouth. And it will. I still strongly believe that Mourinho is negotiating his way out of Madrid to London, and doing so to suit him. All the IKEA, daughter’s education in London and meeting Mr. Abramovich at a fancy restaurant clues have no doubt materialised what the media perceive to be the perfect back-page headline – Special One Returns. In the midst of this all, there is the slightest possibility that it won’t happen, and in the event that it doesn’t, we have to be prepared for what the board, who have previously favoured Villas-Boas over Hiddink, have in store for us.
We definitely have other targets, we’d be stupid not to. So here are the options I’d like to see the board consider, should a move for Mourinho to Chelsea fall through, and how I rate them:
Guus Hiddink – 10/10
The safest possible option. He has worked at Chelsea before, and gained success. Hiddink was unfortunate not to get to the final of the Champions League, thanks to some excellent refereeing by Tom Henning Øvrebø, but still managed to save our season and win a domestic cup in the process. He maintains a strong relationship with Roman Abramovich, as well as our older players. Football-wise, he’s always managed to find a balance in every team he manages, and enjoys getting the best out of talented players. He’s seems to be a very approachable and caring man, which will work well if we are to bring in younger players to the club. The Dutch have a common key in their philosophy, and it’s to bring in youth talent from the system. This has worked excellently for them, and this is evident in their national team, with the fielding of players like Strootman, Maher and Fer. It’s every Chelsea fan’s dream of seeing their own players start and finish at Chelsea, and for players like Nathan Ake, Lucas Piazon and Romelu Lukaku, this is possible under the guidance of Guus Hiddink. A class man in the media, causes very little or no controversy at all, something that Roman will like to see happening at a club with a damaged reputation in the media. Overall the most logical option for us, and someone who I’d equally love seeing if Mourinho’s move doesn’t materialise.
Manuel Pellegrini 8/10
The Chilean has been hot on the lips of several spectators. He joined Villareal in 2004, and enjoyed being near the top for majority of that time. He made players like Riquelme, and eventually went on to manage the biggest club in the world – Real Madrid. Although he lasted only a year, Pellegrini’s record made Real’s decision to sack him, an absurd one. The availability of Mourinho was more important to Real’s board than the success Pellegrini was en route to achieving. His record reads: 48 games in charge, 36 wins, 7 draws and 5 losses, which brought his win-rate to 75%. But stats don’t tell the whole story, Pellegrini joined Malaga and made them an extremely attractive team to watch. Sexy football is Pellegrini’s forte, and the building of a team with players like Isco and, until last season, Santi Cazorla, Pellegrini has done a job which most managers are incapable of doing under the circumstances and financial constraints he was made to deal with. A well-respected man, and his appointment would certainly be no loss to us.
Antonio Conte 8/10
He has brought Juventus up from being a team happy in 3rd behind Inter and AC Milan to a dominant force in Europe. Moulding his team around classic players, Conte still manages to execute perfect Italian counter-attacks and maintain that strong Italian style 3 man defence. He’s played 3-5-2 very often this season, and it has paid off wonderfully, with the Sicilian club named Serie A champions over the weekend. He gets the best out of players in every position, right from Chiellini to Vidal and Giovinco. Undoubtedly a great candidate, and a great winner, another man I wouldn’t be disappointed to see managing Chelsea next season.
Michael Laudrup 7/10
He’s guided Swansea to a huge achievement besides the Capital One Cup this season – The ability to play some of the most beautiful football in England, and some may argue, in Europe. He’s a calm, composed character that enjoys managing. He enjoys organising his team and one can’t help but think that if he manages to create sexy football at Swansea, the possibilities are endless IF he is able to establish authority on the players at Chelsea. I feel this is a lot more do-able at the club now than before, as we are looking to replace the old boys with fresh faces. Another well-respected man, however I do think he has a good thing going for him at Swansea, and wouldn’t want a job at Chelsea to affect his rising career.
Jupp Heynckes 10/10
If only we could change this man’s mind. He’s done it all. As a player he’s won the World Cup, the European Championship, the Bundesliga 4 times and a UEFA Cup. As a manager he’s won the Bundesliga 3 times and the Champions League once, although that may turn into two, come Champions League final day. Winning is in his blood, and furthermore, since 2009, Heynckes has built a Bayern team that has completely washed out all competition in Europe this season. They were the better team in the Champions League final last season, and as a result, he has made Bayern hungrier than ever. He got Bayern playing majestic football, utilising homegrown talents like Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos. For me, he’d be the ideal option, as Hiddink is, however the fact remains that he’s keen to retire from his glorious career and job, which will be a major loss to football, because he is and remains one of the greatest managers to have worked in football. A gentleman at 67, his presence at Chelsea would be hugely appreciated.
Rafael Benitez 8/10
Here we go, I know I’m in for a bit of stick for this one. Fact – Not everyone, to put it mildly, at the Bridge love this guy. Fact – His comments made 4-5 years ago has made his position at Chelsea only temporary. Fact – He will never form a friendly relationship with the fans. But it’s also a fact that he took over in our transitional season and made the best of what he had. Given the opportunity, I’m sure he would’ve made a few adjustments at the start of the season to suit the team. Looking to Liverpool’s 2008/09 team, you’d have to be very ignorant to see what Benitez is capable of making. Yes, he’s been the manager that has lost us 4 trophies, but the fact remains that due to his rotation, we are in a position to actually lift another European trophy as well as securing a Champions League spot. Whether this is his doing, he’s improved David Luiz’ game by 100% as well as making Hazard the threat he is. He’s comfortable fielding Mata and Hazard or either 1 of each. His experience as a manager should be respected, but the fact remains that the club offered him the interim position, and it’s highly unlikely, after the way it’s gone for him this year, that he is to remain at the helm. To be very clear, he is another very safe option to have, although some may not see why.
So there, I’ve listed the options I believe we should be looking at, and the reasons. Who do you think should be on the list, and why?
Leave your comments below!