Sunday, June 8, 2008

Will Chelsea ever get the right man?

Chelsea news.
As the managerial merry-go-round comes to a halt for another week the question over who will take over at one of the richest clubs in the world still remains. With one of Chelsea’s supposed successors having already been snapped up by one of their rivals it might seem to some Blues fans that they are never going to find a new head coach. I know some Chelsea fans were disappointed when Mark Hughes joined Man City earlier this week because for them he has proven himself to be a shrewd manager, not only in the Premier League with Blackburn but on an international front with Wales, where he very nearly achieved qualification for the 2004 European Championship, narrowly losing to Russia in the play-offs. The former Chelsea forward was seen as a very good candidate to take up the post, he was the only manager who you would consider to have not been at a ‘big club’ yet.

So now Chelsea must continue their quest to find the perfect manager, one who can continue their good domestic form but whilst going one step further in Europe. It seems silly that Avram Grant lost his job because of one slip on a very wet pitch, no manager could ever compensate for that. The Herman Munster look-alike may not have been everyone’s cup of tea but in many peoples eyes he wasn’t given the time to impress those in the Stamford Bridge boardroom. You could say though that it is just another example of modern football where there is no place for patience these days.

Instead Chelsea seem determined to throw their financial weight around, the Sunday newspapers have reported that they have offered AC Milan £20m for head coach Carlo Ancelotti, a world record fee for a manager. It seems though that the bid will fail with Ancelotti saying he would only leave AC for Roma, the side he captained as a player. So where next for Chelsea? Well according to Betfair Roma coach Luciano Spalletti has become the new favourite to take up the hot seat.

Again though you would imagine that Roma will not be keen to let Spalletti go after he has guided the side to consecutive Coppa Italia trophies since taking over in 2005. The former Serie A Coach of the Year certainly has his admirer’s back in Britain, although for the wrong reasons in Manchester after United twice rolled over Spalletti’s Roma side in the Champions League. But again with Spaletti you have a manager that has never won anything in Europe and has never won the league back in his native Italy. So Chelsea would be appointing a man who has about the same level of qualifications that Avram Grant had, which begs the question over why they ever any needed to sack Grant?

Finally we come to what looks like the two most likely candidates, Roberto Mancini and Frank Rijkaard. Both are now without clubs and as such wouldn’t take massive amounts of money to lure them to London. But talk of bringing Rijkaard to Stamford Bridge has cooled recently despite the Dutch manager having achieved success domestically and in Europe with Barcelona. That is what Chelsea have set their sights on and despite talk of a meeting between the two parties taking place previously there has been no further mention of any discussions between the two sides. As for Roberto Mancini well despite the betting telling you that it will be Spalletti taking over at Chelsea not many people are looking much further than the recently departed Inter Milan boss. He managed to achieve three successive Serie A titles with Inter, albeit one of those coming following Juventus’ demotion after their financial irregularities came to light, not to take anything away from Mancini. But his failure on the European scene with such a massive club will worry the Blues board, who themselves are considered to now be one of the biggest clubs in the world.

In fact all these potential managers have their drawbacks but they also have very good reputations which they have worked hard to earn and as anyone will tell you the opportunity to manager at a club where money is no problem must be a very tempting offer to take. With the European Championships currently going on you imagine that the list of candidates will only increase, in fact Paulo Ferreria has already suggested that Chelsea should look no further than the Portuguese national coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. It seems though that Chelsea are in no rush to appoint a new manager at this moment in time despite the continuing uncertainty surrounding the futures of some of their key players. Whoever Chelsea do appoint they will need to produce instant results, much like a certain ‘Special One’ did when he turned up.

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