Hiddink Charged With Chelsea Revival

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 31 December 2015, 12:34

The Sun's Andy Dillon (@andydillon70) takes a closer look at what's in store for Guus Hiddink at Chelsea...

GUUS HIDDINK is about to enter uncharted territory in his second spell as Chelsea manager.

When the cavalier Dutchman breezed into Stamford Bridge in 2009 it was February and he was spared the nerve-jangling nightmare that is the transfer window.

He had gone by the time it opened again in the summer - leaving behind an FA Cup in the trophy cabinet and pictures of him grinning and puffing on expensive, fat cigars with club owner Roman Abramovich.

This time around he has arrived just a couple of weeks too early to be let off the hook completely.

There is enough time left to claw into the top four. This week marks the halfway stage of the season.

Although it will demand an almighty upturn in form it is still possible for Chelsea to make up the 15 points gap on fourth placed Tottenham.

While it is highly unlikely, that doesn't come into the equation at Chelsea. Top four and Champions League football is a minimum requirement.

The problem Hiddink faces is that over the next month of the winter window he dare not let any player of reasonable value leave because it is all hands to the pump top scramble up the Premier League table.

Cesc Fabregas is already being linked with a move to Italy with either Inter or Juventus having been left out of the team which earned a 0-0 draw at Manchester United on Monday.

Aston Villa are courting striker Loic Remy and their boss Remi Garde is talking up the player even before the window opens on Saturday.

Chelsea only have themselves to blame if Remy wants out. He has had to play second fiddle to a woefully out of sorts Diego Costa - even when the lb32 million Spaniard couldn't hit an opponent let alone the opposition goal.

Hiddink is blaming injuries but Remy has always looked fit to me when he has come off the bench and shamed Costa by showing a far greater degree of sharpness and commitment than his expensive team-mate.

Hiddink can't let either player go regardless of who comes in for them and what they are prepared to pay.

And the only players he can afford to let go will not exactly have rival clubs scrabbling for their wallets.

Take defender Papy Djilobodji for example. He cost almost lb3 million, not much in comparison to more illustrious members of the Chelsea squad, but still a sizeable sum.

The centre half has played precisely one minute - in a Capital One Cup tie at Walsall - since and would be worth around half of that maybe if Chelsea are lucky?

The youngsters in the squad such as Ruben Loftus Cheek, Ola Aina and Bertrand Traore are worth little in terms of cash.

But to sell them in the next month would be professional suicide for a club which has vowed to bring through more kids while keeping 33 players mothballed on loan in the hope they will eventually make it.

Hiddink is faced with the unthinkable and that is to take a huge risk and dump Diego - he is having a bad season but typically has come into form just at the wrong time.

To sell him would mean great upheaval within the squad and finding a replacement is difficult at this time of year.

Chelsea fans are singing his name again just a few weeks after booing him for playing his part, even if accidental, in the departure of much-loved boss Jose Mourinho.

Willian, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Ramires, Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel are now all indispensable as are the defenders - every single one of them.

Six years ago Hiddink could hide behind the fact the transfer window had shut two weeks before he arrived.

He has no such excuse this year and the 69 year-old Dutchman may be taking up smoking again to help with his nerves over the next four weeks.


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