Just over five years ago Roman Abramovich sacked Jose Mourinho mid-way through the 2015/16 season, seven months after the Portuguese coach had sealed a Premier League and League Cup double.
The Russian’s decision came in the aftermath of a defeat to Leicester City, who themselves moved to the summit of the table, while Chelsea were left dangling one point above the relegation zone after 16 matches.
Fast-forward to the present day and current Chelsea incumbent Frank Lampard is fearing for his future following a damaging loss to Leicester, a result which propelled Brendan Rodgers’ men to the top of the league ladder, and left Chelsea way off the pace in 8th.
A fifth defeat in eight games saw bookmakers’ react.
“I can’t get caught up in what the reaction will be or I will be sitting there all day concerned about it,” Lampard said after the match. “I took this job knowing there would be difficult times because it is not a club ready to compete.”
The “not ready to compete” line is sure to infuriate many supporters and could incur the wrath of Abramovich, who gave Lampard in excess over £200m in the summer in a bid to improve upon last season’s 4th-place finish and mount a title charge.
The Blues were top of the table in December, but a shocking run of form has seen them slide all the way down to 8th, leaving them nine points off leaders Leicester. There’s still half of the season remaining, yet on current evidence there’s little to suggest that Lampard can propel them back into contention.
Chelsea’s poor form coupled with Abramovich’s trigger-happy nature means Lampard inevitably faces a nervous wait to see if his boss reacts by wielding the axe.
High-profile acquisitions Timo Werner and Kai Havertz - brought in at a combined cost of nearly £120m - have yet to dazzle, and if Lampard can’t spark the duo into life, he knows from experience that Abramovich will find someone who can.
Lampard has replaced Bruce as the favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave
The Athletic reports: “there is a desire within the hierarchy to explore a German-speaking route when it comes to the next appointment, tapping into the influence of the Bundesliga. It is a path the club have never previously trodden, but there is a certain logic driving their thinking.”
With that in mind, there’s a certain successful German coach available for hire at the moment: Thomas Tuchel.
Tuchel left PSG on Christmas Eve following a trophy-drenched two-and-a-half-year tenure, having previously led Dortmund to the DFB-Pokal Cup, and impressed in his first job at Mainz.
Tuchel’s success, his reputation as a versatile and tactically astute manager, and his preference for employing attractive, attack-minded football makes him a strong contender (7/2) should a vacancy open up at Chelsea - for more information on Tuchel check out the video below.
Fellow countryman Julian Nagelsmann (15/2), currently at RB Leipzig where he previously managed Werner, would no doubt be under contention, while Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl (12/1) has also worked with the striker.
Given Chelsea’s love affair with Italian coaches, Max Allegri (7/2) will attract attention, however it’s Lampard’s former Chelsea teammate and current Ukraine manager Andriy Shevchenko who is the 9/5 favourite in the next Chelsea manager market.
With Frank Lampard set for a nervous wait on his future at Chelsea, it's his former #CFC teammate and current Ukraine manager Andriy Shevchenko who has emerged as the favourite to replace him, should he lose his job... 🔵🇺🇦— The Sack Race (@thesackrace) January 20, 2021
Odds subject to change | BeGambleAware | 18+
Shevchenko failed to shine after his £30m move to Chelsea in 2006, winning just the League Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge.
In 2016 he became the assistant manager of Ukraine, before he was elevated into the top job during that summer. He was unable to lead his country to the 2018 World Cup, however he responded by leading them to top spot in their Euro 2020 qualifying group, ahead of defending champions Portugal.
Given that Shevchenko is currently preparing for the Euros, which are expected to go ahead this summer, the timing could be wrong for a switch to club management.