Battle of Stamford Bridge: 4 Possible Managerial Candidates For The Chelsea Job
With the press linking Chelsea to a whole host of managers throughout Europe, Chris Weir takes a look at four possible candidates a little closer to home
With the press linking Chelsea to a whole host of managers throughout Europe, writer Chris Weir takes a look at four possible candidates a little closer to home…
What a difference a manager makes. Since Guus Hiddink took charge of Chelsea in December, they have been a team reborn. Diego Costa has been scoring for fun, while Cesc Fabregas plays as though a weight has been lifted from his impish Catalan shoulders. Eden Hazard, meanwhile, swaggers around the pitch with the pomp his displays have lacked so desperately all season.
Saturday’s 5-1 demolition of Newcastle was a testament to how far Hiddink’s men have come in recent months, with the West London outfit barely leaving first gear to steamroller a tepid Newcastle side. The former Russia coach is renowned for his man management skills, and he deserves credit for mending what has for so long seemed like a tortuously divided dressing room.
Whilst it may be too late for Chelsea to retain their title, they do have an outside chance of securing a Europa League spot. Provided that Guus manages to steer them safely home, here are some of the men who may be leading the team out at Stamford Bridge next season.
The Bournemouth manager is a revelation. Young, charismatic and seemingly revered by his players, Howe has brought a club which a few years ago was on the brink of bankruptcy to the Premier League in near successive seasons. His loyalty to the players that brought them there has proved as astute as it has been admirable, and his reliance on a largely British core has been complemented by some shrewd business in the transfer market. The £10 million capture of Benik Afobe appears to be a particularly good bit of business.
A move to Chelsea would perhaps be too early at this stage, but it wouldn’t be a total surprise for Abramovich to make a left -field appointment. Avram Grant, anyone?
Somewhere in West Bromwich, Tony Pulis must be lying awake in his bed thinking ‘What was the point?’
In 3 years, Mark Hughes has transformed Stoke from a dour team happy to tread water in mid table under their former manager to a genuinely entertaining and watchable footballing side. The signings of Shaqiri, Arnautovic, Afellay and Imbula are testament to the Welshman’s ability to make a killing in the transfer market. It was he, after all, who brought both Pablo Zabaleta and Vincent Kompany to Manchester City in 2008.
Hughes has delivered similarly impressive teams at both Blackburn and Wales, nearly taking the latter to Euro 2004 despite the presence of Robbie Savage. Hughes, a former Chelsea player who enjoyed 3 good seasons at the club, is ready for the step up and could prove the ticket for the Pensioners.
Brendan Rodgers has an image problem. The Carnlough native, whilst being mocked for his David Brent-esque management style, is nevertheless a tremendous football coach who dragged an average Liverpool team to within a whisker of the title a few years ago. Were it not for a timely trip from Steven Gerrard against Mourinho’s Chelsea, Liverpool could have went on to re-establish themselves at the top of the footballing tree. Rodgers also enjoys a familiar relationship with the club at which he served as youth coach, and would bring some breathtaking attacking football back to the Bridge.
And finally… Guus Hiddink
Sadly for Chelsea fans, Hiddink has said that he will only manage the club until such time as a full time manager is appointed. He has however, hinted that he could be tempted by an advisory role in the future. Whatever happens, the Dutchman will remain a firm favourite with the fans to whom he delivered the FA Cup in 2009.
It seems, then, that Mr.Abramovich faces a difficult choice in the summer. Whatever he decides, Chelsea fans will be hoping that the new manager can fire them back to glory.
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