Roberto di Matteo is Chelsea’s 7th first team manager since Jose Mourinho left the club in September 2007. Barring an unlikely turnaround in form over the next few months which might see di Matteo being considered as the permanent manger (let’s face it, he’d probably have to win the Champions League to have a serious chance), a number 8 will join this summer. Le question de million dollaire, is who?
Pep: Reportedly ready for a new challenge (winning everything and being the best must bore him) and currently stalling on a new contract, Guardiola would be my first choice if I was the big RomAb. His Barcelona team are the model for not just Abramovich (winning with style) but for probably every team in the world. He currently has some magical footballers at his disposal but also demands huge focus and physical effort from them when they are without the ball (which isn’t often mind, 31.6% of the time in last years Champions League final ). Do Chelsea have the right players and the right mindset for Pep to recreate his FCB model?
Mourinho: The current bookies favourite, would Roman dare bring back The Special One? The man that he fell out with when Mou refused to change his style of play and let the owner pick the team? Could he go crawling back to the most egotistical bastard that English football has ever seen, swallow his pride and beg for him to return? Jose would be sure to make him pay for that, and might even insist that Ronaldo joins him from Real Madrid.
Benitez: Well decorated and hard to argue with Champions League winners medal but never quite got to grips with the Premier League. I was at the Mad Stad in Reading when the Royals went 2-1 up against Liverpool, Rafa responded by bringing off Torres. A few minutes later Reading went 3-1 up and Rafa responded by hooking Gerrard too. His defence? They were playing Marseille in Europe a few days later. He is though well accustomed to the division and country, has top European pedigree, and (maybe most importantly) knows how to get the best out of Fernando Torres.
Honorable mentions: I can’t see this being the right ‘big job’ opportunity for a Moyes of this world, but I hope he gets a shot at one someday. Deschamps is a World Cup winning captain who is making decent strides early in his managerial career, plus he’s ex-Blues. Inevitably Mark Hughes will decide that QPR ‘don’t match my ambitions’ once he gets them relegated, just the excuse he gave for leaving Fulham not a year ago – at least Hughes didn’t just get beat by Ful…oh. How embarrassing Mark.
Outsiders: Roman is unlikely to take another punt on a young hungry manager, considering the last punt wasn’t exactly successful. That being said, the Swansea manager (and former Chelsea youth coach) Brendan Rodgers has been mentioned as a long shot during the last 48 hours. Rodgers has since moved to distance himself from the job saying that taking the Chelsea job would ’destroy my career’. Ouch. No surprise to see that Sven has chucked his hat in the ring as he always does, Abramovich might as well just bung him a couple of million quid now, rather than wasting a few months with the hiring/firing! That man is still somehow robbing a living being a football manager – Lazio was 12 years ago Sven.