First published back in November, Aaron Cox assesses the potential candidates for the top job at Chelsea.
As Andy Carroll headed home to give West Ham a famous win at the weekend an iconic image was born. It was one that delighted social media and rather aptly cut Jose Mourinho as a lone figure, struggling to hold back the tide. The Portuguese had been sent to the stand for a half-time altercation with officials and as the Hammers’ directors' box exploded with emotion, the Chelsea boss cut a desolate figure skulking in the background.
Mourinho then refused to speak to the media after the game, a move that will land the club a fine and suggested that the manager either did not trust himself, or he has lost the stomach for the fight. Maybe it was because there was no one to blame? Even the Special One couldn’t lay this at the referee’s door. Nemanja Matic committed two stupid fouls resulting in two bookings and his team simply didn’t perform again.
Talk over the weekend was of a new man at Stamford Bridge. Moves are allegedly being made for Pep Guardiola, while Carlo Ancelotti is currently unemployed. So what happens if Abramovich decides he has had enough of his ego-driven head honcho? There is one man who should standout above all others, and he is right under the Blues’ noses.
The job the Dutchman has done at Southampton is nothing short of phenomenal. He has shown himself to be tactically excellent and incredibly astute in the transfer market. His team plays exciting and visually pleasing football, while they’re never scared to mix it up if they have to. The style of football he promotes would appeal to Abramovich and his exploits as a player make him an attractive proposition for potential signings.
His appointment would potentially underwhelm a lot of Blues supporters but Koeman looks destined for great things in management. His next move could shape the rest of his career and picking up the pieces at Chelsea could take him to the next level. He already has vital Premier League experience and is a man that should be top of the Pensioners’ list of candidates.
Unsurprisingly, he was the first name linked with the job. His contract at Bayern runs out at the end of the season and there has been no update on his future as of yet. However, Pep likes to leave these things late and it would be no great surprise to see him opt to stay in Bavaria for an extended period.
Guardiola and Chelsea just don’t seem to match though. His appointment would bring with it a massive change in style and ethos. In addition his previous work has come at two clubs with an almost tribal atmosphere. Cataluna and Bavaria are areas that almost operate as their own nations at times. A move to Chelsea would be a step down in intensity for a man who is famed for his incredible work-rate.
This would be a particularly interesting moved for both the manager and the club. The ex-Juventus boss has great pedigree having won three titles with the Old Lady and he now oversees affairs for the Italian national team. Conte is a fiery character who demands incredible levels of effort from his players, not dissimilar to that of Jurgen Klopp.
He has never worked outside of his homeland though, so opting to hand him the reigns at one of the Premier League’s biggest clubs would be bold to say the least.
The Italian was unfairly sacked back in 2011 after leading Chelsea to second in the table. In his first season he won the double but that all seemed to be forgotten and he was given the boot in favour of the younger Andre Villas Boas.
It would be nice to think that Ancelotti has too much pride to come back to a club that seemingly treated him so badly. However, another crack at the top-flight could tempt him. But will Chelsea want to continue the managerial boomerang theme?
The Atletico Madrid manager has arguably done the best job in Europe over the last few years. He has taken a team with no money and broke the duopoly In La Liga, not to mention leading the capital club to the Champions League final.
Simeone has had to constantly rebuild at the Vicente Calderon and he seems to thrive on the underdog status, something they have never shaken despite their title success in 2014. His style isn’t the prettiest on the eye but it has been successful. It is up for debate as to how he'd cope with being the biggest of fish.