Chelsea are working on the assumption that, somewhere in the world, there is a better manager than Jose Mourinho.
Having just sacked Mourinho, they must be. The questions now begin. Is Guardiola a better manager than the Special One? Has Roman Abramovich acted at just the right time, whereby he brings in Hiddink until the end of the season when, surprise, surprise, Pep Guardiola is out of contract at Bayern Munich and available to come to England, if he wants to?
Does Guardiola want to go to London? There are rumours that the capital would be his wife’s city of choice but, then again, there are rumours that she would rather stay in Germany. Guardiola may prefer Manchester for more than just footballing reasons, here’s a totally unbiased article explaining why.
There are other managers, of course. Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid is one that will always be associated with the big jobs around Europe.
According to Guillem Balague, Sky’s expert on all things Spanish, he is not thinking of leaving Madrid just yet. Apparently, according to Balague, you need to be taking English lessons and eating roast beef and yorkshire pudding if you are even thinking of moving to England and Simeone, at present, is doing neither.
Another possibility is Marcelo Bielsa although, as he is being linked with Swansea at the moment, maybe his stock is not yet high enough for the Chelsea job.
Guus Hiddinck could take the job on a permanent basis providing he avoids relegation and wins the FA Cup and the Champion’s League although, with Abramovich, even this may not be enough. Hiddinck, long term, does not fit the profile required at Stamford Bridge.
It would appear that, with somebody like Abramovich, the face has to fit the job and success is actually secondary. Remember what happened to Roberto Di Matteo after he had won the Champion’s League. He was initially brought in for the short term and did well. Abramovich though, never really fancied him long term and, basically, got rid of him as soon as he thought it was viable to do so without upsetting too many fans.
There was the interim reign of Benitez. This was also reasonably successful but, to Abramovich, he was not the Chelsea type. He won the Europa League but his fate was the same as Di Matteo, he went as soon as was realistically possible.
So what does the Russian really want? I think he wants Jose Mourinho without the baggage. By that I mean he doesn’t want the arguments, the fall-outs, the bad publicity, the sulking and everything else you get with the Portuguese. He will accept the occasional trophy-less season if he can have a manager he can trust to represent Chelsea in the right way.
The problem here is one that has existed since time immemorial. The right manager is nearly always a combination of two or three managers. Perfection in one person is impossible. Even Ferguson, Busby, Shankly and Clough were only about 75-80% right for the clubs they managed and they all, even though it may be difficult to believe, could have done better at certain points of their careers.
So the search for a new Chelsea manager will go on yet again. Abramovich will appoint someone, whoever that may be and, if he wins trophies but doesn’t adhere to the Russian’s philosophy, he will not last long. He will have a better chance if he does adhere to the philosophy and wins less trophies. That, at present, seems to be the thought process behind any Abramovich appointment.
Good luck, there are certainly not too many out there who fit the bill.
After today’s result at Old Trafford where Norwich City won 2-1 for the first time in decades you would not know if Man United might be looking to make a managerial change like Chelsea have? With Jose Mourinho looking to make a swift return to management in the Premier League could Ed Woodward make the ballsy move of removing LVG from his position and moving quickly to install the “Special One” who has expressed an interest in the United job in the past and was reportedly approached for the job in the past – we will see!!