Is Maurizio Sarri already a dead man walking at Chelsea?

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 12 February 2019, 14:13

The message from within the confines of Stamford Bridge is that Chelsea is no longer the managerial minefield of yesteryear.

Let’s hope so, because as current incumbent Maurizio Sarri treads on increasingly thin ice ahead of this week’s trip to Sweden, Chelsea’s elusive owner Roman Abramovich faces a hugely embarrassing situation.

Should Sarri find himself tipped out of the FA Cup, beaten in the Carabao Cup Final and dumped out of the Europa League as well as the running for fourth place this season, then it would actually make sense for Abramovich to push the button and dispense with the tenth permanent manager of his 16-year regime.

But if it happens before the end of the season then Russian billionaire Abramovich will find even his immense resources being stressed by paying two sacked managers at once.

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Sarri’s predecessor Antonio Conte’s three year deal worth in excess of £9 million per annum does not expire until the end of June.

Sarri is only in the seventh month of a three year contract worth around £2m a year less.

Chelsea are fighting Conte over his full pay off but will be coughing up a large proportion of his salary and it is club policy to pay the many ex-managers littering football until their deal runs out.

They do this in the hope that the kind of bloke who takes on the scalding hot seat at Stamford Bridge is the kind who won’t be out of work for very long.

 

In Conte’s case the stubborn Italian has sat on his hands deliberately to take his former employers for as much as he can. Given Sarri’s recent results and the handling of his short time at Chelsea it’s hard to imagine clubs falling over themselves for his services.

Either way, if Chelsea end up with two former head coaches on the payroll at once, it doesn’t do much good for their constant claims that Stamford Bridge is now a much fluffier place to work and that Abramovich is not the manager-eater he once was.

There is a stirring deep inside of every journalist who covers Chelsea that Sarri is already a dead man walking. That barring a miracle he will be on his bike come summer and that that whole process of finding yet another successor begins all over again.

It always happens, it’s Chelsea’s way although nobody quite expected things to start unravelling this quickly.

But a 6-0 pummelling at Manchester City, preceded by a 4-0 thrashing at Bournemouth and a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal is surely too much to swallow for a man of Abramovich’s status?

Sarri is becoming disjointed from the players he led on an 18-game unbeaten run at the start of the season although fair play to him, he did say back then that it wouldn’t last.

 

The failure to get across his ideas of ‘Sarri-ball’ - which often translates in real terms as over-elaborate and excessive passing for passing’s sake, hints at a manager who will never really get his players to grasp his ideas.

It’s made even more difficult in a league such as our Premier League, where finesse and finery are no match for the kick, b*****k and bite that most fans demand in the kill or be killed arena of a match.

That’s what makes English football the most exciting and therefore the most in demand brand in the world and as a result able to command the most money to show it on TVs globally.

Even if Sarri did somehow turn things around and get his ideas across to the players, there is a chance it would make watching Chelsea’s walking football about as thrilling as the road map folding class I attend every week.

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Dean Keates
Dean Keates
(Walsall)
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