Here’s my number, call me maybe?: 5 Chelsea manager candidates

November 21, 2012 in Features, Premier League

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It is that time of the year again. Chelsea go through a sticky patch and another manager gets given a nice payoff and his P45. I really feel for Roberto Di Matteo, but it always felt like they kept him on as manager because they had no choice; he delivered the one trophy that Roman Abramovich so desperately wanted but it never felt to me that he was the number one choice after the win in Munich. Plus, he was tasked to change the way the team played and to get rid of the old guard, a hugely difficult task that his predecessor Andre Villas-Boas couldn’t do either - I bet the Spurs manager is feeling a bit better about things now. The question that is on everyone’s lips now is what manager will Roman call to step in and take over either temporarily or permanently?

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1. Pep Guardiola

The former Barcelona manager is probably the Russian tycoon’s number one choice for the job. The success that he enjoyed at the Catalan giants was amazing and he plays the style of football that the owner craves. Money would not be a problem but what is is whether the Spaniard wants to cut short his year-long sabbatical in New York. Guardiola is a family man and wants to ensure his children get an American schooling so they can learn English; although they could obviously do this in West London, I doubt he would want to unsettle them for the time being. The other problem is that the man himself said he does not feel that hunger to get back into football yet. Chelsea could offer him the most attractive financial package in all of managerial history, but if Pep hasn’t got his heart and soul into it, what’s the point of hiring him? If he doesn’t get hired now, he has a very good chance of coming to Stamford Bridge in July next year.

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2. Rafael Benitez

When AVB was sacked in February, meetings were understood to have taken place between Chelsea and Benitez, who has been out of work for almost two years since leaving Liverpool. Tactically superb, a great motivator and someone who can help get the best from an out-of-sorts Fernando Torres, he does have a number of things going for him. However, the Blues fans voiced their disapproval of Rafa in their FA Cup game against Birmingham last season and it would be an understatement to say his appointment would not be a popular one. However, he is still the odds-on favourite with the bookies and there has been contact between Roman and Benitez this season.

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3. Harry Redknapp

Currently out of work, English and someone who encourages attacking football, ‘Arry is a sound option either temporarily or permanently. He turned Tottenham’s fortunes around when he took over from Juande Ramos, and helped them qualify for Champions League football. His knowledge of the Premier League is a huge advantage and I think this is the trophy that Chelsea have to focus on. However, he lacks experience in Europe (if they qualify) and his final few games while at Spurs saw them slip from third, and a guaranteed Champions League place, to finish a disappointing fourth, missing out on the Champions League thanks to Chelsea’s win in Munich. Could he handle the pressure?

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4. Marcelo Bielsa

Creator of possibly the most attacking and brilliantly entertaining tactics we have seen for a long time, the current Athletic Bilbao manager has been linked with the post before. He has great experience, having managed in Europe and in the World Cup finals with Argentina, as well as the excellent Chile team of 2010, so he would be used to dealing with the pressure. His tactics would suit the new breed of Chelsea. with their attacking flair in midfield similar to what he has currently with at Bilbao with Iker Muniain and Marko Susaeta. There are a few problems with Bielsa though; firstly, he is still in contract with Athletic and would not be cheap, especially if Roman only wants an interim manager. Secondly, Bilbao are currently struggling to live up to their form of last season, with seven defeats in twelve games currently; Di Matteo has a far superior record this season and still got sacked.

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5. John Terry

No, this is not a joke. The Chelsea captain has always said to be in control of the dressing room and of matters which should be above him, even as captain. He would be supremely popular among the fans, especially if he hires Frank Lampard as his number two. He has no experience but has all the leadership qualities to make a decent manager. At 20/1 in the running currently, he realistically could be an option for Roman, although probably a last resort one.

Who do you think will be Chelsea’s new manager? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @BallsyBanter.

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