In news that rocked the footballing world to its creamy caramel core, it was announced last week that famed squad builder and talent nurturer Pep Guardiola had decided to come out of the wilderness and take the reigns at a football club famed for its carefully built squads and painstakingly nurtured talent.
Whilst white van men everywhere scrambled to their Blackberrys to tell their 18 Twitter followers that he was a “bottler” for not coming to the Premier League, over at Stamford Bridge caviar was hitting the walls in frustration.
Roman Abramovich, a man who normally possesses all the subtly of barging in on someone's relaxing bath and throwing a crocodile in with them, had been hoping that by the time the 2013/2014 instalment of the Premier League rolled around he'd have managed to convince the former Barcelona boss that Chelsea was the hip and happening centre of the footballing universe. However, after watching the likes of Roberto Di Matteo, Andre Villas-Boas, and even Filipe Scolari (ask your parents) all get the bullet for essentially not being Jose Mourinho, Guardiola decided on a far cosier role in Munich – where he'll have no natural predators either in the league or in the board room.
So with the current incumbent of the job quietly counting down the days until his short-term contract expires, and still enjoying all the popularity of a walking parking ticket that's just broken up with your daughter, Roman must turn his attentions to the other potential applicants for the role. Of which, as he'll already be aware, there aren't many.
With Mourinho yet to commit to his future at Madrid, you can expect almost every piece of chip paper you get your hands on between now and July to contain some sort of baseless article about him craving a return to England. It might well be true, and with Sir Alex Ferguson still clinging onto his Old Trafford parking pass for dear life, his options would remain to either return to his old stomping ground (Mourinho is at 5.00 to be managing Chelsea on 1 September) or wait for Roberto Mancini to overturn his desk in some Balotelli-induced strop and walk out on Manchester City.
Should the ego hit of knowing he was second choice to his shiny-headed nemesis prove too big an issue for Jose, then Roman will have to take something of a rummage around in the managerial darkness to bring someone in. Names like Borussia Dortmund's Jurgen Klopp and Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone have already been mentioned, and they're two candidates who'd probably make a fair fist of the job.
Klopp has managed to take Dortmund from a financially troubled mess of fading glories to one of Europe's most exciting and youthful forces, winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles and earning the pinnacle in “I liked them before you did” football hipster adoration. However, with the German national job allegedly about to open up, it's far more likely Klopp would prefer to continue his work with the likes of Hummels, Gotze, Reus, Großkreutz, and the other future stars he's helped bring through at club level. Chelsea dare not face another high profile snub, although it does mean that Joachim Löw might be available.
One option that doesn't seem to get much coverage is for Roman to look at the Premier League itself for an answer. There's currently no shortage or managerial options who've been bandied about for bigger things this year. Michael Laudrup for example, carries both the ethos of exciting play and the gravitas of a big name that Chelsea have craved for so long. However, his CV of “a few months here, a season there, Brondby for a while, and then Wales” doesn't quite qualify him as vastly experienced just yet. For that reason, he's out at 15.00 for the Chelsea job next season.
No big job in England would be complete without the inevitable speculation that David Moyes will finally be rescued from his life of teeth grinding and free transfers he's been forced to endure on Merseyside. After over a decade working miracles at Everton, he's survived relegation scares, reached the FA Cup final, and even taken a team with David Weir and Tony Hibbert in to within a wrongly disallowed goal of the Champions League. The only worry though, would be that after going so long on a shoestring budget, putting a blank cheque in front of him would be like giving someone their first taste of chocolate at 30 – they're delighted at first, but sooner or later there's going to have to be an intervention when they're found selling their body for a bag of Malteasers.
Arguably now more than ever, Roman's decision over the next Chelsea manager is critical. With the old guard now starting to fade into retirement, and a dangerous pool of Hazard, Luiz, Ba, Cahill, Oscar and Mata on the brink of being a proper team, the next manager has a fantastic opportunity to wedge the side firmly between the cleavage of Mancunian dominance at the top of the table. Besides, Abramovich goes through managers like the unwell go through DVD boxsets. He should be able to do this all in his sleep by now.
Read more of Adam's articles here.