Next Chelsea boss: Blues’ options if they axe Jose Mourinho
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | October 27, 2015
Following widespread reports in the national press that Jose Mourinho is drinking in the last chance saloon for his second spell in charge of Chelsea and will be sacked if the Blues lose to Liverpool, Coral football experts have taken the time to assess their options in detail.
Roman Abramovich, owner of the Stamford Bridge side, has been particularly ruthless when previous poor form has materialised, including under Mourinho first time round, so the following courses of action are open to the Russian oligarch if he sacks ‘the Special One’…
Pay compensation for in-demand coaches
Plenty of gossip column inches have already been dedicated to who is thought to be Chelsea’s choice of successor to Mourinho, and the name Pep Guardiola keeps coming up.
There’s just one small problem – the Spaniard is still under contract at Bayern Munich. Perhaps a little bored towards the end of his previous role in charge of Barcelona, where he won everything, Guardiola has replicated that Catalan dominance of La Liga in Bavaria and the Bundesliga.
While a third Champions League crown as a coach eludes him with the German giants, Bayern have utterly dominated their domestic scene. With Munich already enjoying a seven-point lead over Borussia Dortmund, is this league a true test of Guardiola’s managerial credentials?
Only one other man has got more out of Blues star striker Diego Costa than Mourinho, meanwhile, and that is Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid.
While an Argentine coach such as him is something of a pantomime villain to the British public due to that David Beckham spat from the 1998 World Cup, his strict, disciplinarian approach would certainly eradicate the sloppiness we’ve seen from Chelsea this season.
Should he identify either Guardiola or Simeone as his next man, Blues chief Abramovich will have to get the chequebook out and cough up compensation to Bayern or Atleti.
Choose a high-profile out-of-work manager
A big name doesn’t necessarily need to cost Chelsea cash to acquire up front. Former England boss Fabio Capello has been linked with filling previous Stamford Bridge vacancies and boasts nearly 25 years of managerial experience.
Is the Italian, who had two spells with AC Milan and Real Madrid as well as successful stints with Juventus and Roma before going into national team coaching, at 69 too old for the Blues job, though?
There is no longevity in appointing Capello or Harry Redknapp – a man who has three other London clubs on his CV – and yet plumping for vast experience to steady the ship until next summer would give Abramovich time to reassess.
Bring a former boss back
One of life’s biggest lessons is supposedly never go back, but that didn’t stop Mourinho from making a Second Coming at Chelsea. Could Carlo Ancelotti, who also fits into the category above, do likewise, then?
Erudite Italian boss Ancelotti following suit to Mourinho would, pun intended, raise eyebrows. He was reportedly sacked by the Blues on the final day of the 2010/11 season at Goodison Park, following a three-match winless run that cost him a successful defence of the Premier League title.
Ancelotti has hardly struggled since getting the Stamford Bridge sack with a Ligue 1 title at PSG and steering Real Madrid to a 10th European Cup. His return to Chelsea is thus a realistic option.
Mourinho compatriot Andre Villas-Boas’ success in Russia with Zenit St Petersburg, meanwhile, has helped rebuild his reputation, and he’s indicated his desire to move on by not renewing his contract.
One-time Blues caretaker Guus Hiddink found Louis van Gaal a tough act to follow in his second spell as Netherlands national manager, but like Capello or Redknapp above his short-term impact at the Bridge could be beneficial, and he proved it before.
Get a national coach to do double duty
Speaking of Hiddink, he coached both Russia and Chelsea simultaneously picking up an FA Cup, so it could be done again on a short-term basis for what remains of the campaign.
Abramovich may be able to persuade some of the big names of international management; Vicente Del Bosque, Antonio Conte and Joachim Low to take the Blues job on.
Spain coach Del Bosque has two La Liga titles, Champions Leagues and international tournaments to his credit, while Conte steered Juventus to three straight Serie A crowns before taking charge of Italy and long-serving Low guided Germany to the 2014 World Cup.
Consider the best of British route
One avenue Chelsea have yet to explore in the Abramovich era is appointing a British boss. This would, however, be something of a risk.
Although Brendan Rodgers, recently axed by Liverpool, spent time on the Blues’ backroom staff earlier in his career, he has to prove himself after a troubled time at Anfield and would be lucky to get a crack here.
Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew’s stock is very high at the moment after an excellent first year back at Selhurst Park, and he has been touted as the next England manager. Would taking charge at the Bridge bring him a step closer to that ambition?
Appease fans by appointing a former player
When Chelsea last appointed a club cult hero, Roberto Di Matteo delivered an FA Cup and Champions League double as a caretaker coach.
Options are rather limited in this regard with Didier Deschamps unlikely to be allowed to do double duty at the Bridge alongside presiding over Euro 2016 hosts France, and fellow midfielder Gus Poyet is taking over at AEK Athens.
That leaves nice guy Gianfranco Zola, who helped get West Ham United relegated, or trying to patch things up with Di Matteo, and neither appears likely.
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