Roman Abramovich finally put Jose Mourinho out of his misery on Thursday afternoon and dismissed him as Chelsea manager. The club will of course spin it as a mutual parting of ways but that’s a bit like when you break up with your partner and say it was mutual to save face.
A Mourinho-less Chelsea has been on the cards for some time. The early season blip hasn’t come to an end, we’re half way through the season and Chelsea are 1 point outside of the bottom three. The reigning champions have put up a forgettable defence of their crown. This coupled with the whole Eva Carneiro debacle gave an impression Jose was on borrowed time.
Jose took paranoia to the next level. Players, officials, groundsmen and ball boys all happened to be against him and his Chelsea side. It was funny to begin with but towards the end it got a little embarrassing to listen to. A once great manager speaking in riddles.
What next for Chelsea and their fans?
Chelsea fans are going to go in break up mode. Denial that Jose wasn’t good enough. Refusal to accept he couldn’t turn it around. They’ll all be sat in the dark, Youtube on their laptops as they watch Jose’s greatest moments and eat Ben and Jerry ice cream.
The club are at a stage of recycling ex managers so Avram Grant must be asking his wife to ring his phone every 5 minutes to make sure it’s not on silent. Guus Hiddink looks likely to step in till the end of the season but who’s on their list after then?
There are some managers out there believe it or not, only a few, that haven’t managed Chelsea. So I’m going to look at possible candidates and rate the chances of them being the next Chelsea manager using an Xfactor style process;
– Does the link make any sense?
– Does the style of play associated with the manager suit the players at the club?
– The managers C.V, does it meet Roman’s requirements?
You need to have the whole package.
First up we have Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone.
Diego Simeone is hot property in the world of management having taken an average Atletico side and turned them into the side they are today. La Liga winners and Champions League finalists. It’s Diego that installed the confidence and desire into these Atletico players. A great motivational manager, he creates a bond with the players much like Jose did but without the theatrics of blaming everybody and anybody.
His Atletico side are very defence first, much like Mourinho’s Chelsea but the difference is Atletico are allowed to express themselves in attack. The likes of Antoine Greizzman has flourished under Diego whereas Eden Hazard seems to have stalled under Jose. Atleti are compact, they’re structured and they’re tactically aware, Simeone’s idea is ‘if we don’t concede then we can’t lose’.
He has a previous relationship with Thibaut Courtois and Diego Costa and he’s the sort of manager that would get the latter firing again.
I’d say Simeone is the perfect candidate to take over as Chelsea manager in the summer.
Southampton boss Ronald Koeman is also somebody that may interest Chelsea. This one may be a bit of a surprise link but there are similarities to the squad Koeman built at Southampton and the one he’d inherit at Chelsea.
Both have a mixture of skilful players and quick players as their wide men. Both teams are set up to have a defensive midfielder and a playmaker in midfield. The full-backs from both sides are expected to offer the width and both teams like to play possession football and counter sides when the opportunity arises. Sounds like every other Premier League side right? But Southampton are a defence first sort of side.
If Koeman replicated his style at Chelsea you’d imagine he’d shore up their defence and unleash their attacking players a little more.
The Dutchman doesn’t have the greatest of C.V’s. What started off well at Ajax turned sour towards the end. It started off well for him at PSV but his head was turned by Valencia but that didn’t go so well. His time at AZ Alkmaar was forgettable but he was impressive at Feynoord. Three Eredivisie titles and a La Copa Del Rey win to his name. It’s hardly the sort of manager Chelsea usually appoint, they usually like their managers to have European pedigree.
Although this appointment would make sense on the pitch I don’t think off the pitch the Koeman brand is strong enough.
FInally we have AS Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim. Unknown to many the ex Sporting Lisbon manager is one of the best tactical managers around. He took a team of home grown Portugese players and lead them to a second place finish in his only season in charge of Sporting, accumulating 25 more points than they had the season before and finally breaking the Porto/Benfica monopoly of the Portugese league.
Like the other two aforementioned managers Jardim prefers a defence first attitude. It’s not pretty football and he’s been manager of Monaco for 53 games, in those 53 games they’ve scored 57 goals and conceded 35.
He would have a league title to his name had Olimpiakos not fired him despite the fact they were 10 points clear in the league at the time. He may not have won anything but he’s got a tactic that’s worked in Portugal on two occasions (he lead Braga to a third place finish and a 15 game winning streak), Greece and now France. With the players at his disposal at Chelsea could be finally win the league?
This is the sort of appointment I could see happening if Simeone isn’t interested. A Simeone lite if you will.
As a Chelsea fan who would you prefer as your next permanent manager?